Chris Ashton has called for Owen Farrell to allow Joe Cokanasiga to carry the ball in midfield more often in an effort to put England on the front foot.
The inside centres who lined up against each other in Perth at the weekend are very different players, as Owen Farrell fulfilled the role of a second playmaker while Samu Kerevi again showed just how good he is at crashing the ball up the middle.
It’s fair to say that Kerevi outperformed Farrell at 12, as he provided the Wallabies with plenty of front foot ball, while England’s attack only managed to fire in the final few minutes of the match.
Former England winger Chris Ashton was speaking on the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast and suggested that Farrell allow sizeable winger Joe Cokanasiga to crash the ball up the middle more often.
Chris Ashton on Owen Farrell.
“I think ideally big Joe [Cokanasiga] would come off the wing and hit the ball up,” Ashton said.
“But I think Owen [Farrell] might be offended by it, because if you saw the way they were trying to play, they [Farrell and Smith] were both trying to have the ball on every single play, one to the other.
“We just need one of them at 10, or whoever’s at 12 like Owen has to be willing to step aside and let big Joe carry and find the ball somewhere else. I’m not convinced he is, I think he’ll have quite a lot of say in how they’re going to play and how they’ll attack.
“He’ll want to be part of it. He won’t just want to allow someone else carry the ball up and say he can’t do it. It’s got to take some sacrifice from somebody.”
.@owen_faz setting the tone for this week 💪@o2 | #WearTheRose pic.twitter.com/Pfo29yiwkH
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 5, 2022
England’s attack has yet to click.
Despite having a man advantage for much of the game after Darcy Swain’s red card, England struggled to break down Australia’s defence, with their first try coming from a lineout maul.
Smith and Farrell haven’t had many opportunities to play together due to the latter’s injury-enforced absence for this year’s Six Nations, although they will need to get used to each other very quickly if they want to keep the test series alive.
The Wallabies will be confident of a second win against their old rivals in Brisbane this weekend, as they overcame injuries to Quade Cooper, Tom Banks and Allan Ala’alatoa, as well as Swain’s red card to win against the odds in Perth.
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