Fly-half Owen Farrell is hoping that the England pack will give him the chance to punish Scotland in today’s RBS Six Nations opener at Twickenham, writes Mark Berry.
The 21-year-old Saracens centre believes that turning the screw on the Scotland defence is the key and recognises that his kicking game could be a crucial.
Farrell said: “If you put a team under pressure and it results in a penalty or a try you want to carry on punishing them.”
He also regards successful kicks as “rewarding your pack who have put the work in to get the points. You feel like you are trying to do them justice.”
Farrell also revealed that crowd noise has little effect on him as he prepares to kick, saying: “It doesn’t bother me what the crowd is doing. It’s pretty strange when 80,000 people are quiet, I don’t understand that.
“They booed at Scotland last year but it doesn’t matter. It’s good to have an atmosphere.”
Expectations are high for England this year but Farrell is trying to remain focused. He said: “It doesn’t matter if there is expectation or not, we are only looking at the challenges and the first challenge is Scotland.
“We have to take it step by step. You can’t be looking at the bigger picture and what’s going on outside [the team]. It’s all about us.
“It’s a big rivalry. I am sure [Scotland] will be looking to upset us.”
But 12 months on from his call-up to Stuart Lancaster’s England team, Farrell believes that the young team are gelling nicely.
“I think as a group we feel like we have hit the ground running. This time last year we were starring from scratch and getting to know each other, this year we know each other well.”
Read Friday’s Wakefield Express for more from England boss Stuart Lancaster and players Owen Farrell and Danny Care.