6 Nations: Farrell lauds England team character

Andy Farrell is convinced England have the character to bridge the experience gap and beat reigning champions Wales to deliver a first Grand Slam crown in a decade.

Owen Farrell, who scored all of England's twelve p

Wales have won three Grand Slams since England last swept all before them, the most recent of which was just 12 months ago when they clinched it with a victory over France at the Millennium Stadium.

Farrell believes that experience of winning a decisive game on 'Super Saturday' should count heavily in Wales' favour as they aim to retain the RBS 6 Nations title.

But he insisted England's fearless young side will thrive in the adversity - just as they did to draw with South Africa in Port Elizabeth, beat New Zealand at Twickenham and then put themselves in a position to make history.

"When we have had a challenge thrown at us we have responded," Farrell said.

"It is the ultimate test to go there and win but it is where we want to be.

"Wales have been there and done it. They have been a tremendous side over the years. They have a lot of experience and won Grand Slams.

"It is going to be a tremendous challenge because experience should come through. You would expect trophies to go with the experience.

"We don't mind a bit of adversity. It is where we have been good in our short time together.

"Experience has to start somewhere and we have to be challenging to win our first trophy."

England's draw in Port Elizabeth last summer came on the back of two bruising defeats to the Springboks but it was the All Blacks triumph on December 1 that was the most significant to Farrell.

England had lost narrowly to Australia and South Africa over the two previous weekends and were then faced with the world champions, who were on a record run of victories.

"What pleased me most about that win was the adversity of us losing the two games before it and the pressure it put on us," Farrell said.

"The performance that came out of that showed a team that isn't going to fold under pressure.

"People's expectations were then for us to kick on. We played well against Scotland and showed character through the rest of the Six Nations to get where we are now."

England completed an impressive victory over Scotland at the start of the Six Nations by running in four tries.

Since then, however, England have managed just one, arguably fortuitous, try from Manu Tuilagi in three Tests. In that same period, the Welsh defence run by Farrell's former Wigan team-mate Shaun Edwards has not conceded at all.

Farrell acknowledged England will have to sharpen their finishing after wasting a number of chances against Italy - but he is not concerned by the low try-count.

"They look hard to break down and they seem to have pride in their defensive line," said Farrell, England's assistant coach.

"The game is about accumulating points to win the game. If you look at points they are on 92 for the tournament and we are on 91 so we are obviously doing something right.

"Wales have scored two more tries. We must have been doing something right to get all the three-pointers in the first place and end up on the same points.

"We didn't have the composure to convert our chances into tries and we have to be better at that.

"Tries don't just come from attack. They can come from set piece, from your kicking game, from all areas of the field.

"We have to make sure all areas of our game are switched on this weekend to break that good defence Wales have."

Farrell confirmed that lock Joe Launchbury did not train on Tuesday but said his elbow injury "ain't as bad as we first feared".



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