Re­vealed: Owen Farrell and Ge­orge Ford’s role as Eng­land’s quar­ter­back coaches

Mid­field pair will call all the plays and hold the key to un­lock­ing Ar­gentina’s de­fence

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World -

called de­pend­ing on field po­si­tion on the pitch, so what you do off a left-hand side line-out on their 22 or what you do off a right-hand side scrum deep in your own half. It acts like a road map of the game.

But like any map, some­times you have to plot a dif­fer­ent course to the one you had planned. Just as quar­ter­backs in the NFL will “call an au­di­ble” to change the play at the last minute af­ter see­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent, so Owen and Ge­orge will be scan­ning the de­fence. The pic­ture of­ten changes to what you had planned, so the space is in a dif­fer­ent place to where they thought.

They will then put in a quick call to the team to at­tack that space. Un­der the mas­sive pres­sure of a World Cup, they are the guys who can see the pic­ture is chang­ing and are able to make a new call to ex­ploit that space.

That is some­thing Ge­orge and Owen do in­cred­i­bly well. They are not just stuck in the mind­set of “this is the play we have prac­tised, this is what we have to do”. If the pic­ture changes, they can adapt and go with the flow.

The beauty of the Eng­land squad is that there are so many op­tions to choose from. Jonathan Joseph has had a huge im­pact in his two ap­pear­ances, while Henry Slade was one of Eng­land’s best play­ers in the Six Na­tions. He reads the game so well in at­tack and de­fence, and has un­be­liev­able hands. For a guy who is rel­a­tively slight, he is in­cred­i­bly strong. He is not afraid of putting his head where it hurts, or run­ning a hard line.

And then there is Manu Tuilagi. Rugby is a con­tact sport and you can­not do any­thing with­out win­ning the gain-line bat­tle. You can have all the best hands in the back line, but you need some­one who is go­ing to get you some quick ball and put you on the front foot. There is no bet­ter back in the world at do­ing that than Manu.

You use him a cou­ple of times to get your go-for­ward. Then the next time the de­fence tight­ens up a bit, he runs a hard line again and you put the ball be­hind him and the space opens up for some­one else. He is that good and that re­spected that sides have to dou­ble-team him. That is what Owen and Ge­orge will do – use him as a bat­ter­ing ram, but also as the best de­coy run­ner in the world.

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