Eddie picks Te'o and says Farrell will only get better

Six Nations
AFP
by AFP

As Owen Farrell wins his 50th cap against Italy on Sunday and Ben Te'o gets his first start, England coach Eddie Jones says Farrell's best years in the international game are still ahead of him.

Farrell has been a central figure in Six Nations champions England's 16-match unbeaten run and not simply because he is the team's first-choice
goal-kicker.

That there is more to his game than a big boot was evident when the centre's well-timed pass sent in wing Elliot Daly for England's match-winning
try in a 21-16 win over Wales in Cardiff earlier this month.

Jones, who has won all 15 of his games as England coach since taking charge after the hosts' lack lustre first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup, knows Farrell better than most.

It was the Australian who gave a 17-year-old Farrell a professional debut when Director of Rugby at Saracens and the former Wallaby and Japan boss knew then he was dealing with someone out of the ordinary.

"You could tell when he was young that he would always bea  driven player - driven to be his best,"Jones said.

"My first impression of him was how driven he was and how much he wanted to get better and wanted to make the most of his career." - Eddie Jones

Jones, however, added:"I don't think he's as good a player as he can be yet, and that's the great thing because his next 50 caps will be better than his first 50 - much better.

"I look at him now and he's developing. He's faster now than he was in November, he's got better footwork than he had and his catching and passing are more consistent."

Only Jonny Wilkinson, at 24 compared to Farrell's 25, reached the 50-cap for England at a younger age.

But Jones had no interest at all in making any comparison with the 2003 World Cup-winning flyhalf, who is now a kicking coach to both Farrell and current England No.10 George Ford.

"I don't think Owen should be compared to other players. He is Owen Farrell and he is a different player,"Jones said.

"In his first 50 Tests he will be disappointed that his winning record is less than Jonny Wilkinson's. But I'm guaranteeing that in his next 50 his winning record will be better than Wilkinson's."

Farrell has sometimes found himself in needless trouble because of a short fuse, although there has been less evidence of that fiery temperament in recent matches.

"Being more mature and calmer comes with age. Everyone when they are young is quite hot under the collar. You don't have patience, you learn
patienceand you get patience with age,"Jones said.

"I want my players to win, as long as they are doing everything they can to win.

"You can do that in the most overt way and be yelling and screaming and punching your chest or you can do it in a quiet way. Either way, it doesn't matter.

"You look at George Ford and Owen Farrell- there is no difference in their desire to win, it's just one expresses it in a different way."

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