- Farrell returns from suspension
- Wrigglesworth confident he could play alongside Ford
- Smith pushing for a start
England are open to the possibility of fielding playmakers Owen Farrell, George Ford, and Marcus Smith together in upcoming matches, according to assistant coach,Richard Wigglesworth.
Farrell return boosts Borthwick’s options
Farrell, who missed England’s victories over Argentina and Japan due to suspension, will be back for the Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Chile this Saturday. His return presents head coach Steve Borthwick with the option of deploying three skilled playmakers in the positions of 10, 12, and 15.
Wigglesworth noted that having three playmakers isn’t out of the realm of possibility, provided there are strong runners around them to complement their skill sets. He emphasised the importance of striking the right balance in the backline, citing versatile players like Elliot Daly who can both run and distribute effectively.
Marcus Smith, who has made impactful contributions off the bench in England’s previous matches, has particularly impressed in the role of full-back. Discussions about this positional shift began earlier in the year, with Smith displaying a keen willingness to adapt.
Wigglesworth praised Smith’s positive attitude and the energy he brings to the team. He highlighted Smith’s previous experience at full-back and expressed confidence in his performance on the training field.
Regarding the potential pairing of Farrell and Ford, Wigglesworth pointed out that the two have a history of successful collaboration in England’s midfield. He believes that their established chemistry will translate well in the tournament.
In terms of the starting XV, Wigglesworth anticipates some changes, considering the physical demands of recent matches. He emphasised the depth and quality of the squad, expressing excitement about giving various players the opportunity to showcase their skills.
With the return of captain Farrell, who boasts international experience in both the 10 and 12 positions, the coaching staff is presented with additional options for tactical flexibility. This wealth of talent offers the team a strategic advantage as they progress in the tournament.
Skipper Farrell’s return after suspension is a huge boost to England, however, some pundits feel that Ford does not have the same impact on games when playing alongside the Saracens man. Should Smith be involved too, it would possibly mean fullback Freddie Steward dropping out. Steward has proved himself to be excellent in the air and that side of his game could be a miss. The key to any successful side is balance and ensuring that a team is at least equal to the sum of its parts. This is the challenge facing Borthwick.
Bettors need to look at how balanced England are and assess whether they are going to be an effective unit. After a disastrous build-up they are beginning to get some positive results and performances and those looking for a wager on individual matches or England’s potential for progress through the tournament need to weigh up the impact the return of Farrell, and the potential inclusion of Smith may have.
England are heavy favourites to beat Chile on Saturday so handicap betting or scoreline predictions may be needed for punters wanting to increase value. England are currently fifth favourites to win the competition, behind France, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand. They are, at the time of writing, priced at 10/1 with bet365.