Owen Farrell is set to be recalled for Saturday’s Cook Cup clash against Australia buoyed by recognition from Courtney Lawes over his influence on England.
Farrell was rested for the 21-8 victory over Argentina in last weekend’s autumn opener at Twickenham but is expected to return to the matchday 23 when Eddie Jones names his team on Thursday morning.
The British and Irish Lions playmaker – son of rugby league great Andy Farrell – acted as waterboy at Twickenham and Lawes insists his return will have a far-reaching impact on the team.
Highlights of England's opening autumn international clash against Argentina
England vs Australia
November 18, 2017, 2:55pm
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“Owen is a brilliant and exceptional player. He’s a player who can change the course of a game and the dynamics of a team,” Lawes said.
“I’m not surprised by the way he’s developed. It’s because of his heritage that he’s very determined and very focused – one of the most focused players I’ve ever come across.
“He understands the game as well as having all the skills he needs to be able to perform at the level he does. He’s demanding of his team-mates, but there a lot of boys like that and you need those kind of players in your team, definitely.”
Lawes’ own worth to England was underlined by his strong performance against Argentina and the Northampton lock is among the Aviva Premiership’s form players having impressed on the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
“Last season I was playing a lot better and I’ve been able to improve game upon game,” Lawes said.
“I went on the Lions tour and I was still able to do it and then carry that into this season. I have a lot of confidence in myself, especially being able to stay fit for so long.
“For me playing week-in, week-out is a big thing. I feeling like my form is solid, no ups and downs, which is perfect. It means I can go into games confident and do what I need to for the team.”
England produced an unsatisfactory start to the autumn described by Jones as a “grindathon”, but Lawes insists the victory was not without its merits.
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“There is any frustration because we weren’t lacking in intent. We just needed more clarity and we hadn’t played together for a while,” he said.
“It doesn’t always come together right away and I thought we did well to come away with such a good win, which was the most important thing.”