Co-captain Owen Farrell helps navigate England through choppy waters | Gerard Meagher

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When Farrell came off the bench against a dangerous Japan Eddie Jones’s side were given direction

Eddie Jones recently explained that Owen Farrell is not the kind of player to be wrapped in cotton wool. He may want to think again. If this victory, ultimately comprehensive but anything but comfortable, told us anything it is that England’s reliance on Farrell remains almost total; going into next year’s World Cup without him is unthinkable.

It would be harsh on the eye‑catching performances of Kyle Sinckler and Sam Underhill from the bench, perhaps on the endeavour of Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes, too, to say that Farrell swung the match in England’s favour single‑handed but the biggest factor was without doubt his introduction and the bloody-mindedness he brought. He came on at half-time – it is easy to imagine Jones had little say in the matter – and immediately gave England purpose.

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Written by Gerard Meagher at Twickenham
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