ENGLAND defence coach Andy Farrell believes winning the Six Nations title would be invaluable for his side and have immeasurable longer-term benefits ahead of the World Cup.
Leaders England stand on the cusp of their first Six Nations success since 2011, although reigning champions Ireland and Wales remain in the hunt for a championship set to be determined on points difference.
While Saturday’s opponents France retain a slender hope of being crowned champions, it would take a major shift to wrestle the title from either England, Ireland or Wales, a prospect Farrell believes should invigorate his charges.
“It’s the last competitive game before we all come back together for the World Cup,” said Farrell. “Winning would mean the world for our confidence. The belief is there, so taking the next step and winning a trophy would be priceless.
“If they [England squad] can’t get excited about this week, they never will in their rugby careers. They’re on top of the table. It’s a massive game and if they get it right they could win the championship. They should be in good spirits.”
England revived their Six Nations aspirations by claiming the Calcutta Cup with a 25-13 success over Scotland last weekend, helped by resurgent Wales’ tense 23-16 victory over Ireland at the Millennium Stadium.
Chris Robshaw’s side could be tempted to over-commit to attack against the French in search of a decisive points haul, but Farrell has dismissed the notion of preconceived targets.
“A little bit of composure to combat the white-line fever will put us in good stead. These guys are professionals. They learn lessons from the weekends very quickly,” he added.
“You don’t chase points. It’s just about mentality, attitude. You can have two of the best sides in the world going at it and those games might be won by big margins or small margins.
“It comes down to what happens on the day and who reacts to the momentum swings.”