Owen Farrell displayed his true “controlled” temperament in England’s stunning 32-20 win over Ireland in Dublin, according to Mike Ford.
Former Ireland international Peter Stringer branded Farrell a “hothead” before England’s four-try Guinness Six Nations victory on Saturday, but ex-Ireland defence coach Ford believes those comments backfired.
Ford insists Farrell has a lid on his emotions despite his burning desire for success.
“Owen Farrell is perceived wrongly; he’s ultra competitive, and that’s what it is,” said Ford. “He wants to win and at times people view that differently. But on Saturday he was controlled all the way through.
“It’s a long time since Peter (Stringer) has played with Faz.
“You can have a week away, you can be away from a camp for a week and you can honestly not know for sure what’s going on.
“So many decisions are made every day in a camp that people don’t know about.
“I think it was designed to get under England’s skin a little bit, but it just didn’t work.”
Former Munster scrum-half Stringer forged a half-back pairing with Farrell during a loan stint with Saracens in 2011.
Stringer had insisted Ireland would try to wind up Farrell in Dublin, claiming the 27-year-old was susceptible to that tactic.
Farrell never came close to losing his authority, however, as England dominated Ireland thanks to powerhouse performances from Manu Tuilagi and Mako and Billy Vunipola.
Henry Slade bagged two tries, with Jonny May and Elliot Daly also crossing, leaving Ford purring over the form of coach Eddie Jones’s side.
Ireland’s status took a hit as their 2018 Grand Slam defence floundered from the off, though Ford insisted Saturday’s result will have little bearing on the autumn’s World Cup in Japan.
“England looked fantastic, from the first to the last second,” said Ford. “Ireland came back into it like the good side they are, but England never let their foot off the throat.
“I don’t think winning or losing that game has an indication on the World Cup, I really don’t.
“When it comes to World Cup quarter-finals or semi-finals it’s always the last 10 minutes that decide whether you will win or not.”
Maro Itoje is to miss at least part of the Six Nations due to the knee injury sustained against Ireland. It is believed that a scan has revealed Itoje suffered a grade two medial ligament tear that usually requires two to four weeks of rehabilitation.
The prognosis means that the British and Irish Lions lock could be available for the finale to the tournament against Scotland on Mach 16 – and potentially earlier.
It will be a substantial blow to Jones after Itoje’s performance in the win over Ireland, but the England head coach will be able to call upon either Courtney Lawes or Joe Launchbury.