Eddie Jones hails Owen Farrell as England lieutenants Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell form fierce leadership trio

Leadership group: Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell and Ellis Genge  (Getty Images)
Leadership group: Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell and Ellis Genge (Getty Images)

Eddie Jones has backed Owen Farrell to form a formidable leadership trio with “lieutenants” Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell.

Farrell will captain England for the first time in a year in Sunday’s Autumn Nations Series opener against Argentina at Twickenham.

England head coach Jones hailed Farrell has one of the most competitive players he has ever coached, rating him alongside former Australia scrum-half George Gregan and South Africa’s World Cup-winning hooker John Smit.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met a player with more competitive spirit than Owen Farrell,” said Jones. “He has unbelievable desire to win, he leads from the front and he brings people with him.

“He’s up there with the top three most competitive players I have coached; Gregan wasn’t bad, and John Smit wasn’t bad either.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the players, their attitude, focus, attention to detail, determination to get better.

“They have been exceptionally led by Ellis (Genge) and Jack Nowell in the first week of camp, and now Owen will come back and lead the side with those strong lieutenants. We feel the leadership situation has improved greatly.

“With Owen coming back we feel the three of them can do a fantastic job for us.”

Farrell has completed his 12-day stand-down after concussion, passing through all his return-to-play protocols on Friday morning. Jones insisted Farrell has passed all the strict protocols to the letter.

“I’m not a doctor, that’s all done by the medical staff, but there’s very strict protocol,” he said. “There’s internal testing, external testing, and he’s passed all of those.

“He’s come through really well. He’s getting close to 100 caps and he’s a signifcant player for us.”