Matt Dawson has hit out at England star Owen Farrell and says the fly-half is not good enough to play at the Rugby World Cup. Farrell was named England captain for the tournament but has missed the first two matches due to suspension after being shown a red card during a warm-up game against Wales last month.
Farrell has won 107 caps for England and has been one of his country’s most important players since making his international debut in 2012. The 32-year-old played at the Rugby World Cups in 2015 and 2019 and has lifted six Premiership trophies with Saracens.
Farrell was shown a red card following a dangerous tackle on Wales’ Taine Basham and subsequently missed warm-up games against Ireland and Fiji. He was absent for the Rugby World Cup victories over Argentina and Japan but will available for selection when Steve Borthwick’s men take on Chile on Saturday.
“I don’t think Owen Farrell is good enough to get in the team at the moment, but let’s see how he goes over the next couple weeks,” Dawson told BBC Radio 5 Live. “The off-field dynamic of how great Owen Farrell is, I have heard for years and years, but I have just not seen it on the pitch.
“What I do see up close and analyse is how he plays for England. I don’t see him bringing anything that isn’t already there. I would not put Marcus Smith in as a starting 15 but there is nothing wrong with bringing him on if you need to change a game up.”
England went into the Rugby World Cup on the back of a dismal run of form. But they proved some of their critics wrong after defeating Argentina 27-10 in their opening match despite going down to 14 men after just three minutes following the dismissal of Tom Curry.
Borthwick’s team were then frustrated by Japan for long periods of their second clash on Sunday night but eventually secured a 34-12 victory to move four points clear of Samoa at the top of Pool D.
“We had to work hard for the win,” explained England head coach Borthwick after his side’s second win of the tournament. “We knew we would get our rewards if we kept doing the right things and I’m delighted for the players and especially the supporters out there.
“What’s evident in the first two games of the tournament is what incredible support we have out here – travelling and following this team – and we want to make sure they enjoy it.
“We’ll have a debrief and analysis of the game but the first thing is for the payers to enjoy this win. We’ve got six days until we play against Chile and we’re looking forward to putting in a really good display in front of our supporters.”