Eddie Jones says Owen Farrell is “full of beans” ahead of England’s Six Nations clash against Scotland, despite the Saracens player having missed spells of training.
Farrell sat out a number of practice sessions this week but Jones dismissed any notion of fitness concerns, explaining it was part of a tailored preparation routine.
England head to Murrayfield having won their first two fixtures, while the hosts responded to their opening-weekend mauling at the hands of Wales by edging France in a thriller last time out.
Jones has made just one change to the XV that overcame Wales at Twickenham, with the fit-again Nathan Hughes replacing Sam Simmonds at number eight, and England fans can expect a fully charged-up Farrell in the Scottish capital on Saturday.
Asked if there were concerns about the centre’s availability, Jones replied: “No, he’s been on a reconditioning programme.
“He’s jumping out of his skin. He wanted to train on Monday, I kept him back; he wanted to train on Tuesday, so we kept him back. He’s full of beans.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 22, 2018
Scotland were tipped as dark horses pre-tournament, but suffered a damaging 34-7 reverse in Cardiff in the championship opener.
“I think they struggled with the expectation in the first game against Wales, but played very well against France,” Jones said.
“There’s moments in the game against France where they looked absolutely outstanding. So they’re a team again that we respect very greatly and we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing at Murrayfield.
“We’ve had a great preparation, we couldn’t have had a better preparation. The only thing we’ve got to get right, and Dylan [Hartley]’s role now is to make sure the players’ attitude is right and I trust the players implicitly. So I know the attitude will be right and we’re looking forward to it.”
Hartley will make his 92nd England appearance this weekend, taking him beyond Jonny Wilkinson into second on the all-time list, with only Jason Leonard (114) ahead of him.
“I think he’s been an unbelievable leader,” said Anthony Watson of his skipper. “He’s helped me massively understand the different aspects from the game that I won’t go into too much depth about.
“But he inspires those around him and his performances have been good for England. So he’s been a great leader and one that I’ll continue to follow.”
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