Farrell: Half-back contest key

Andy Farrell reckons Saturday's Six Nations game between England and Ireland could be settled by the half-backs.

Many expect the fly-half battle between Lions colleagues Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton to be the highlight of this weekend's Twickenham contest.

The two No 10s are good friends, but that will be forgotten for 80 minutes as England aim to ruin their visitors' Grand Slam ambitions.

And England coach Farrell knows his son's contribution could be a defining factor in the result.

He told Sky Sports News: "It's great on paper because of the friendship they have and the respect they've got for each other.

"Those two boys know more than most it's not just about them, it's about organising the rest of the players to bring out the best performance on the day.

"It's going to be a mouth-watering clash at Twickenham. Both sides are fully prepared after a weekend off, and it could be the outcome of the game will depend largely on the half-backs."

Farrell Jnr's cover at headquarters is likely to be George Ford, who is expected to replace Brad Barritt in England's squad.

And Farrell Snr said: "Definitely George would be ready to play against Ireland. He's comfortable in the environment. He knows all the plays and our systems and is comfortable with them.

"When you get that you can start being yourself and bring your game to the party."