England v Italy
Andy Farrell: Italy are our next cup final
ESPN Staff
February 13, 2015

Andy Farrell has called for a cup final spirit within the England side as they prepare to face Italy on Saturday.

Farrell believes the 21-16 victory over Wales last weekend has generated a "feelgood factor" and they have since been installed as new favourites to win a first Six Nations title under Stuart Lancaster. Success against Italy will set-up a mouth-watering showdown against Ireland in Dublin on March 1 and Farrell has urged England to continue building momentum in their pursuit of silverware.

"In the Six Nations you have to make sure that mentally and emotionally you're in the right place to put your plan into action on the field," backs coach Farrell said. "That's important against Italy as well because let's not forget that it was a cup final for everyone last weekend. To win a Championship you have five of those cup finals.

"Earlier in the week we showed the players what they did well against Wales and what they didn't do well. Mentally we brought them down a bit and then built them back up again. Hopefully against Italy we'll be at that cup final stage again.

"We need to back up the Wales performance. There's a feel-good factor around the rugby country at this moment in time and we have to back up that performance by making everyone feel the same way again."

England have finished Six Nations runners-up on points difference for the last two seasons and must seek to rout Italy to tip the balance in their favour should several teams be jostling for the title on the final day. All 20 previous meetings between the rivals have ended in an English win, but recent history paints a picture of a potentially tight and tense fixture with Lancaster's men prevailing just 18-11 through six penalties from Toby Flood two years ago.

Farrell insists his 1/100 match favourites must cast aside any notion of putting Italy to the sword. "International rugby is not like that, you just have to look at the recent games between us to see that. Two of the last three games have been close," Farrell said. "The game always takes its own way. What we have to do is be good enough to feel the momentum of the game and how to influence it. The performance will come on the back of that really.

"To have a fixed plan of how it will unfold in your head before the game isn't reality. If Italy turn up and play exceptionally well, it will be a really tough game, there's no doubt about that. We just need to try and impose our game on them early to try and get what we want from it.

"We'd have loved to have beaten Wales by 30 points. We'd love to beat Ireland by a lot of points as well. Each game is different and it's all swings and roundabouts."

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