It all had a sense of inevitability about it.

As soon as the email came through from England's media officer on Friday morning [NZT] that Owen Farrell was up for media duties the day before the crunch Rugby World Cup pool A match against Wales you could have almost scripted the way it would play out.

The selection of Farrell at first five over Ford has provoked surprise from some quarters and indignation from others. And while it might not have been the most controversial headline this week in Britain, it has given an already vital pool match an extra edge.

Sure enough, Farrell received the bulk of the questions alongside forwards mentor Graeme Rowntree.


Of course, Rowntree fielded his fair share too about the same subject.

The opening question of the media conference extended out to a back-and-forth between a reporter from Sky Sports News and Farrell, asking if he was surprised about the reaction to his selection.

He countered with a straight-faced response of "What reaction?", before throwing in that classic sports player line of not taking in any media.

The question line continued to unfold from there for the rest of the 20-minute media conference at Twickenham, with Farrell probed on his relationship with his dropped counterpart Ford.

Farrell says the controversy around his selection won't motivate him tomorrow morning.

"People can say what they want but it's the people inside the camp that count to me...external factors don't matter to us and we go into the game looking forward."

"This is why you play rugby to be involved in games like this."

Farrell has dismissed the idea of his selection being a move away from the more attacking style England has employed under Ford.


"I think we're going to play the same way as we have been doing. We're going to try and make decisions that are in front of us and make the correct ones."

A capacity crowd will pack out Twickenham, with suggestions around 20,000 of those could be making their way down from the valleys to support Wales.