Matt Dawson, an iconic figure in English rugby, has expressed his surprise at the prospect of Owen Farrell taking the starting role at fly-half in the upcoming Rugby World Cup semi-final against Fiji.
Steve Borthwick’s team barely made it into the knockout stages last Saturday, securing a hard-fought victory over Samoa. Samoa was just seven minutes away from victory before Danny Care’s late try rescued England from a significant scare.
He told the BBC: “They’ve broken up the midfield that worked well against Japan and Argentina but Steve Borthwick is so loyal to Owen Farrell that it felt inevitable.
“There’s a part of me that thinks they brought George Ford off because they’ll need him next week.
“I cannot believe that anybody in the coaching staff thinks that Farrell is a better 10 than George Ford right now. I’d find that quite concerning if that was the case, therefore I’m going down the line of they must have just wanted to bring him [Ford] off.
“Or there’s a chance they’re trying a combination of [Marcus] Smith at full-back, [Freddie] Steward on the wing, Farrell at 10, some bigger ball-carriers in midfield. But again, it’s this notion of trying things at a World Cup [which is a problem].”
England’s route to the 2023 Rugby World Cup final revealed
Let’s venture into the realm of imagination and explore the potential trajectory that awaits Borthwick’s formidable team.
Quarter-final: England v Fiji
After a historic defeat to the Pacific Islanders last month, England is poised to seek redemption in the quarter-finals. Steve Borthwick’s squad aims to erase the memory of their lackluster performance, and with their recent form, they stand a strong chance of advancing to the semi-finals.