England's Manu Tuilagi compares Owen Farrell to Jonny Wilkinson

Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi
Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi

England centre Manu Tuilagi says new-boy Owen Farrell is an inspirational talent with similar skills to those displayed by a young Jonny Wilkinson.

Farrell, 20, kicked four penalties and dictated much of England's attacking play in a 12-19 Six Nations defeat by Wales.

And Tuilagi, also 20, says comparisons between the Saracens fly-half and Wilkinson are not exaggerated.

"He's definitely the guy who can take us forward," Tuilagi insisted.

"I was very impressed with Owen. He can definitely inspire the team the way Jonny [Wilkinson] did.

"The way he played, he controlled the ball really well, he kicked well.

"For a young guy coming into the team to produce a performance like that is just what you want from your players. I'm really proud of him."

Wales sealed the Triple Crown with a late win at Twickenham on Saturday, but many have praised the fighting spirit and tenacity of a young and broadly inexperienced England pack.

Several of England's senior players retired following the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, including veteran fly-half Wilkinson, who won 92 international caps and scored a record 1,179 points for his country.

At full-time Farrell, who had been forced from the field with cramp, summarised the performance from an English perspective. He said: "If there was ever any such thing as a good loss, then that was it.

"The way we fought for each other, the way we defended and attacked was outstanding at times."