Owen Farrell says England have been working hard to avoid a repeat of their first-Test defeat to South Africa.
Owen Farrell has called on England to remain calm when they attempt to level the three-Test series against South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Eddie Jones’ side lost the opening clash in Johannesburg 42-39 but go into this weekend’s Sky Live match knowing defeat would not only see them lose the series but also drop from fourth to sixth in the world rankings if they suffer a heavy defeat.
A loss of any score would see England drop below the Springboks in the rankings and extend their losing run to six games, although victory would square things up and leave them heading into the Cape Town decider with a chance of becoming the first England side to win a series in South Africa.
South Africa vs England
June 16, 2018, 3:00pm
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But having relinquished a 21-point lead as they lost the opening encounter at Ellis Park, captain Farrell insists his team must retain perspective after Jones warned of listening to “white noise” generated by the pressure building on him and his side.
“The last thing we should do now is panic. The last thing we should do is worry,” said Farrell.
“None of us believe we can’t win this Test. What we have got to do is get it right so that we’re in the best place to perform.
“We had a good training session on Wednesday when we felt like we were more in control of what we are doing and we have to carry that into Saturday.
“We thought we got the emotion right in Johannesburg but when the pressure came on and they started getting momentum we probably didn’t cope with it as well as we should have done. We’ve spoken a lot about that.
“To win a series in South Africa would be massive, but we’ve got to equal things up first. We can only do that by concentrating on what we do now and keep building into it.
“No England team has ever won a series here so to do that would be something special, but we’ve got to get Saturday right first.”
Farrell says England are looking to simplify their outlook in response to their sequence of defeats, although they will need to improve their discipline and defence while performing better at the breakdown if they are to succeed at Free State Stadium,
“This run [of defeats] makes you look further into it. It makes you look deeper,” added Farrell.
“Sometimes it’s trying too hard, sometimes it’s getting things wrong because we’re not clear in our thinking. A lot of it is making things simple and clear so we can really go after it.”
2:49 The recent addition to Eddie Jones' England squad caught up with Sky Sports in Durban.
Watch the second Test between South Africa and England on Saturday. Coverage begins on Sky Sports Action at 3pm and Sky Sports Main Event at 4pm.