sport

Lancaster talks up Farrell

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has heaped praise on Owen Farrell, commending the fly-half's goal-kicking ability and ever-increasing maturity.

Farrell helped himself to a 32-point haul in Saracens' Heineken Cup victory over Racing Metro on Saturday, landing 11 kicks from 11 attempts and extending his run of consecutive successful shots at goal to 29.

Lancaster believes that kind of relentless accuracy will weigh heavy on the minds of England's Six Nations opponents.

But it is not only Farrell's prowess with the boot that has impressed the England supremo as he went on to acclaim the 21-year-old's all-round development as a player.

"I can't think of a time when I have seen someone kick 11 from 11 before," Lancaster stated. "A proven goal-kicker is crucial at the highest level. It is not just that but his management of the game has improved, his maturity.

"He has really moved on since that New Zealand performance. He is playing in big games now and playing extremely well.

"He has that competitive fire and temperament you look for in elite players which is quite unique among young players.

"From the moment he came into the England camp as a 20-year-old his maturity, his game understanding, his inner confidence and temperament has shone out.

Confidence

"It was that which gave me the confidence in the Six Nations last year to promote him to start."