England shake up captain’s run as Owen Farrell continues key role in Steve Borthwick’s overhaul
England arrived for their captain’s run at the Principality Stadium and jumped straight into a training session with a difference.
The full squad drew into a huddle, gathered their thoughts and then trained their ears on captain Owen Farrell - not the traditional format of running through set moves for Steve Borthwick’s men.
In new boss Borthwick’s overhaul, now England get their bearings and refocus on the challenge ahead.
“I think every team does it a bit differently now, it’s part of the evolution of the sport,” said England’s attack coach Nick Evans.
“We’re certainly not the first team to do it and we won’t be the last either. You probably see it a lot at club level now, with the captain’s run being more of a get-together, a reaffirming of players’ processes, or maybe you’ll run through plays.
“At Harlequins we won’t even have one, we’ll have a day away and give players an opportunity to come in and do rehab and get together, have a bite to eat and some coffee.
“We’ve chosen to go down this route, we feel it suits us at the time we’re in. The players have really bought into it and they use it wisely.
“It’s not just a turn up and have a look at the ground, it’s reaffirming plans and processes, get a feel for the ground and do what you need to do, get recovered and look forward to tomorrow.
“Owen’s done a brilliant job, in conjunction with the senior players and Steve, and they go through what they need to, talk about what they need to, just making sure there’s clarity and reaffirming what we need to do.”
Harlequins assistant Evans is on loan to England for the Six Nations, and is relishing his first opportunity to coach at Test level.
England have reprised the midfield trio of Owen Farrell, Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade that helped see off Italy 31-14 at Twickenham in the Six Nations’ second week.
Former New Zealand and Harlequins fly-half Evans believes England’s new-look inside-back set-up will be more comfortable in Wales for the benefit of that run-out against Italy.
“Ollie deserved his man of the match against Italy, he played really well,” said Evans.
“He brings a real focal point for us and we just ask him to bring that strength for us.
“Sladey’s that brilliant tactician and ball player in the centres, and Faz is always excellent. It’s another week under their belt with that combination, and it’s about developing that.
“Then for Marcus it’s about focusing on the game during the match and working out where he can impact the game when he comes on.”