Paris: The World Cup ended in abrupt fashion for England, but captain Owen Farrell is now only looking forward as his team take on a rejuvenated, always dangerous, French side in the Six Nations on Sunday.
England entered last year’s World Cup final as favourites after an impressive victory against New Zealand in the semi-finals, but were overwhelmed by South Africa in the showpiece event.
They have, however, regained their composure and are ready to gun for a third Six Nations title in five years.
“It’s not like we’ve been sat at home on the couch since we’ve got home,” England captain Farrell told reporters on Friday.
“We’ve had quite a lot to focus on as players. In an England context, it’s good to get back together, it’s exciting to see now where we can take this. We’ve had a chat when we first got together, each individual’s thoughts on the World Cup.
“We love being here, in this environment. It’s an exciting tournament ahead of us.” Farrell, who insisted the World Cup ‘is done’, said that England were excited to take to the field again, despite the absence of Billy and Mako Vunipola.
“It’s not about the World Cup now, it’s about where this team’s going, that’s the exciting bit, not the putting that (World Cup failure) right, the exciting bit is what’s in front of us,” the centre explained.
“That starts on Sunday, a big start, everybody’s pouring all their efforts into preparing the best they can.”
Eddie Jones’s team will miss the injured No. 8 Billy Vunipola and his brother, loosehead prop Mako, but Farrell is convinced England have enough strength in depth to cope.
“It’s not reliant on anybody. We just don’t want to play one way. We have the ability to play a number of ways. So that fits well with getting people in and using their strengths,” he said.
The forwards’ battle is likely to be tense at the Stade de France, but Farrell seemed more concerned by the French backline.
“(Scrumhalf Antoine) Dupont is electric, makes stuff happen, sees things quickly and just goes to it. He doesn’t second guess himself, he’s very decisive,” said Farrell.
“(Flyhalf Romain) Ntamack is calmer, laid back, doesn’t get flustered by anything, but can make things happen, has the ability to beat people. They are the two key players in what they’re going to do in attack.”
France were thrashed 44-8 at Twickenham last year and have been disappointing in recent years.