sport

Lancaster happy with Farrell

England coach Stuart Lancaster is unconcerned by the temperament of fly-half Owen Farrell despite his fractious display against France.

Farrell repeatedly tangled with French players during last Saturday's 23-13 victory at Twickenham and escaped a citing for elbowing scrum-half Morgan Parra.

The behaviour of the short-fused 21-year-old, who was replaced in the second half because of a quad strain, was one of the few concerns in an otherwise superb afternoon for England.

"Owen was frustrated with his thigh injury, but clearly as a 10 you have to be able to control your temperament and emotion. I don't think it affected Owen's performance," Lancaster said.

"We could micro analyse every individual's body language and everything they do in every game. The reality is I thought he had a good game and was frustrated to come off injured.

"With all players it's about hitting the balance between being on the edge and in control, over the edge and out of control or not quite at the edge and getting blown away by a side that is hugely motivated.

"In the review of course we talked about discipline, but there were other things that were equally important."

Farrell's involvement in the penultimate assignment of England's attempt to claim their first Grand Slam in a decade is in doubt as he continues his rehabilitation.

Lancaster names his team to face Italy next Friday and will give the Saracens playmaker every chance to prove his fitness with Leicester's Toby Flood on standby in case he fails to recover.

"Owen's making good progress, he's probably 50/50 for the Italy game. In the next week he'll be running around OK. The issue will come when he has to kick," he said.

"We have to make sure that it's healed properly so that it doesn't break down again through kicking. Being a fly-half, that's obviously an important part of the job.

"If there's a risk of him breaking down, we wouldn't risk him. We'll give him time, but equally there comes a point in a week when we run combinations."