Owen Farrell England v Springboks: Power battle to be defining factor in Rugby World Cup final

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Owen Farrell urged his team-mates at his eve-of-match captain’s meeting to “throw all of themselves” into the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa in Yokohama, knowing that nerve, boldness and togetherness are imperative if England are to deny the Springboks another Mandela moment.

The presence of the former South Africa president at the Springboks’ against-the-odds victory over the All Blacks in the 1995 final at Ellis Park helped inspire that team.

Owen Farrell Owen Farrell works on his drop-goal kicking alongside 2003 Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson.

MICHAEL STEELE/GETTY IMAGES

Owen Farrell works on his drop-goal kicking alongside 2003 Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson.

There would have to be a similar upset if warmly-fancied England were to be trumped at the last hurdle, but Farrell knows that it will take everything in their power if the driving force that is South Africa’s first black captain, Siya Kolisi, is to be prevented from galvanising his men to deny England.

There are powerful undercurrents at work in this Springbok quest for glory, a sense of history flowing from one generation to the next. Farrell is aware of that threat but believes that his men are ready to go.

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“Everybody wants to be involved in this game and there are probably a lot of people who grew up wanting to be involved in this,” Farrell said.

Owen Farrell England captain Owen Farrell talks tactics with his coach Eddie Jones ahead of the Rugby World Cup final.

MICHAEL STEELE/GETTY IMAGES

England captain Owen Farrell talks tactics with his coach Eddie Jones ahead of the Rugby World Cup final.

“You think, as a kid, how good it would be to be here. Now this opportunity has come around, you want to enjoy it, you want to go for it, you don’t want to dip your toe in and see what happens, you want to throw all of yourself into it and that’s the way we’ll look to go about it.”

Farrell sets the tone for this team. On his watch there may be few stirring words in public, no grandstanding gestures or playing to the gallery. But behind the scenes, his players respond to his leadership in much the same manner that the 2003 team did

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