England v Ireland, Six Nations, March 17
Farrell: We don't know fear
March 17, 2012
Assistant coach Andy Farrell has highlighted the growing belief within the England squad © Getty Images
England assistant coach Andy Farrell insists Ireland's recent dominance of their Six Nations rivals means little to his 'fearless' side.
Ireland have beaten England in seven of their last eight Championship meetings since Sir Clive Woodward's side won the Grand Slam in 2003. But Farrell, preparing for his last game alongside interim head coach Stuart Lancaster and fellow assistant Graham Rowntree before he returns to Saracens, stressed that history will count for nothing.
The new-look England side have already proven they have no respect for records or reputations. England opened their campaign with a first victory at Murrayfield in eight years, they pushed World Cup semi-finalists Wales to the brink and broke France's 10-game unbeaten home record.
"Ireland have a good record here but that means nothing to this England group. Only a handful of these players were involved in any of those games," Farrell said. "We are aware of the record, like we were aware of the record at Murrayfield, the challenge of Rome, the form Wales were in and France's home run. There seems to be a challenge every single week, but these boys aren't frightened of anything. We are up for any type of challenge. We don't know fear."
England have won all three of their away matches in a Six Nations campaign for the first time ever, including last weekend's landmark 24-22 victory over France in Paris. Lancaster has capped nine new players this campaign and discovered England stars of the future in the likes of Owen Farrell and Ben Morgan.
"Maybe a few other people have had their expectations exceeded, but not ourselves," Andy Farrell said. "We were always confident we could get results. You are judged on performances as well, and they've been very good.
"Our initial expectations were for this young side to develop week-in and week-out, to get used to the international environment. We were always confident in the selections we made along the way. We picked on form, for the here and now and for the future. That's unfolded as well as anyone could have hoped and we now hope to take it to another level this weekend."
Wales' superior points difference of plus 38 leaves them with a strong grip on the Six Nations title, but England go into the final weekend with an outside chance of silverware. For England to wrest the title away from Cardiff, Lancaster's men must put Ireland to the sword and hope France wreck Wales' Grand Slam party with a comprehensive victory at the Millennium Stadium.
England have made one change from their victory in Paris, with David Strettle returning on the wing in place Charlie Sharples after recovering from a chest injury. "We recognise we're going to have to lift our performance by 10%," Lancaster said. "There is no feeling of the job being done because we have three wins. We are heading in the right direction and you can tell from the body language and demeanour of the players that they will give their all for the team."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.