Updated: Saturday, 15 March 2014 02:43 | By Agence France-Presse

England confident but would welcome French favour

Assistant coach Andy Farrell insists England will focus fully on their own Six Nations challenge against Italy but admits victory from a frustrated French side over Ireland would be welcome.


England confident but would welcome French favour

British and Irish Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell speaks at a press conference after the captain's run in Brisbane on June 21, 2013 - by Saeed Khan

England go into Saturday's final round of matches with a chance of pipping tournament leaders Ireland to this year's title, although England would have to win in Rome and hope France beat Ireland in Paris to have a mathematical chance of snatching the title.

England are level on points with Ireland and France. Although they have a +29 points difference advantage over the French, they trail Ireland by +49.

Farrell said England will focus on the job at hand but warned that recent criticism levelled at France's side could work in their favour.

"I think we've got a good chance of winning the title," Farrell said at the team's hotel in Rome Friday.

"I think the French are at their best when their backs are against the wall. I think there's a few questions being asked of the French team over the last couple of weeks.

"It came to a head this week with people walking out of press conferences etcetera because they're being challenged... when you get the French in that type of situation, it's a very dangerous place to go.

"It's out of our hands. We can only concentrate on our game and look after ourselves do the business tomorrow."

With England's game at 1230 GMT, Farrell admitted he and the rest of the squad will be glued to their televisions for the later France v Ireland clash at the Stade de France (1700 GMT).

"Obviously we'll be excited to watch the other game, as an England player and (member of the) coaching staff but also as an England spectator because it's going to be an intriguing weekend."

Farrell gave an indication that Manu Tuilagi, who will start on the bench having recently made his comeback following a chest muscle injury, will make his first England appearance in more than a year.

Asked what expectations he had of the versatile centre, Farrell added: "Hopefully one of an impact, that's why he's there - to be ready in a number of positions that you need to be coming off the bench.

"He has a lot to cover this week and he's very comfortable within that and he's ready to go.

He's chomping at the bit to get going. We were very impressed with him last week in training."

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