Six Nations
Farrell unimpressed with Johnson jibe
ESPN Staff
January 25, 2013
England assistant coach Andy Farrell, England training session, Winston Churchill School, Woking, England, February 9, 2012
Andy Farrell is wary of the wounded Scots © Getty Images

Andy Farrell refused to enter a war of words with Scotland coach Scott Johnson after his jibe at England's injury worries.

England are currently sweating on the fitness of centre Manu Tuilagi ahead of their Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 2 while Calum Clark, Tom Palmer and Tom Johnson have all been ruled out of the tournament. When asked about England's injury worries, Johnson responded: "That just leaves you with another 40,000 players to pick from, it's a sad story".

Farrell, however, would not be drawn into a war of words in the run up to their match and said: "It is funny, isn't it? Very funny. Hilarious. We are saying plenty of things behind closed doors!"

And Farrell emphasised that England did not need to rise to the bait to be motivated. "The last four games (between England and Scotland) have been won by an average of four points," Farrell said. "That is the drop of a ball. It is because of the rivalry, the history. It's a big game for all concerned.

"Talking to a few of the Scots, they feel they let Andy Robinson down and so they have a point to prove to themselves. We have to get good at being consistent and not worrying about Scotland.

"Obviously they come into it but we feel we have got a few things going, we know what starts to make us tick. We have been very hard to beat. The scorelines have always been close when we have lost but consistently winning with a top performance is what we are after. We will be going all out to do that against Scotland. We still have to find that consistency and top-level performance."

The England management are prepared to give Tuilagi until Tuesday to prove his fitness, such is his importance to the side - as shown with his key role in the victory over New Zealand. Tuilagi scored one try and created two others in England's record 38-21 triumph on December 1 and Farrell said: "He has done unbelievably well for us. The physios are definitely not writing him off. They think he has a fighting chance but it would be unfair to leave it until the end of next week."

Fullback rivals Alex Goode and Ben Foden have both been released to play for Saracens and Northampton respectively this weekend before returning to the England camp next week.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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