Owen Farrell insists England have rediscovered mojo after Japan victory

Owen Farrell insists England have rediscovered their mojo after they warmed up for the main event of the autumn against New Zealand by crushing Japan 52-13 at Twickenham.

A seven-try drubbing of underwhelming opposition was a significant improvement after the month began with a dismal upset by Argentina, Farrell emerging as the ringmaster of a welcome return to heads up rugby.

Next up are New Zealand in a long-awaited fixture because of its sheer scarcity value – the All Blacks have visited Twickenham just once since 2015 with the nations meeting only twice over the last eight years.

England got back to winning ways at Twickenham
England got back to winning ways at Twickenham (Ben Whitley/PA)

Farrell believes England enter Saturday’s clash with renewed purpose after liberating themselves of the over-thinking that he said had blunted their attack against the Pumas

“It definitely felt like a step in the right direction. It felt more like us, it felt more like what we are capable of, although we we are not there yet,” the team’s captain said.

“There are a few things to tidy up but in terms of intent, in terms of getting the best out of ourselves, that was miles better.

“Now we’ll see where we can take it against New Zealand. We’ve got seven days together now to see how much better we can get.

“We will see how much closer we can get, see how much tighter we can become as a team, push our rugby a bit and make sure we turn up with the right attitude again.”

At the heart of England’s most exhilarating moments was their towering full-back Freddie Steward, who ran in a try and was influential in two more as well as commanding the air with customary authority.

Although only 21 years old he is already knocking on the door of world class and Farrell sees a player with multiple strengths to his game.

“I can speak of how good Freddie is around the place, how good he is in training, how much he wants to get better, how honest and hard working he is as a young lad and he has obviously got some special talent with a lot of his stuff,” Farrell said.

“Because of his aerial stuff some of the other stuff he does goes unnoticed as well, but against Japan you saw him break tackles and set-up tries. That was a big part of his game.”

For all the fireworks in attack, the jury remains out on Farrell’s creative axis with fly-half Marcus Smith.

Farrell produced one of his better displays at inside centre by launching the backline with kicks and passes, but Smith was error prone with his two tries saving his afternoon.

Owen Farrell (right) and Marcus Smith (left) are England's playmaking axis
Owen Farrell (right) and Marcus Smith (left) are England’s playmaking axis (Steve Paston/PA)

It was their sixth outing together and Eddie Jones denies he is wedded to the partnership.

“We think that Marcus and Owen can be really good together but like any strategy, the strategy has got to keep having results,” Jones said.

“There’s no reason why they shouldn’t keep playing together, but we don’t get a team sheet and put those two names in ink that you can’t rub out.

“Yes we really like it but there are always changes that you need to make and we need to be flexible and adaptable and we will be.

“This obsession with saying these two need to be 10 and 12 is not the way we really think.”