Six Nations: Farrell and Hodgson reject England's 'negative' label

England player Charlie Hodgson celebrates his try during the RBS Six Nations game between Scotland and England at Murrayfield
Charlie Hodgson celebrates his try during the RBS Six Nations game between Scotland and England

Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson insist that England play to win in matches, and do not seek simply to avoid defeats.

Leicester head coach Matt O'Connor claims the England set-up lacks attacking intent.

But the two international fly-halves have refuted the accusation, with England due to take on France in Paris on Sunday.

"We are excited about the way we are playing at the minute," said Farrell.

"[O'Connor] is entitled to his own opinion. We have our own views," added the 20-year-old from Saracens.

"I don't see how else you go into a rugby game [other than trying to win]. I don't think I have ever had a mindset to just avoid defeat, otherwise you don't play how you want to do.

"The way we played the game against Wales the other week proved that."

Hodgson is set to reclaim his England place for Sunday's match against France at the expense of Toby Flood.

He told BBC Sport: "It's about going out and trying to win, never mind trying to avoid losing. We are positive with the way we've been working here.

"Obviously opinions are down to individuals and you respect those," he added.

"With the coaching team we have here and the way that we are trying to play, the guys are confident in what we are trying to do.

"I guess the proof's in the pudding when we go out at the weekend."

O'Connor also claimed England's interim head coach Stuart Lancaster and his management team are not interested in creative players such as Tigers duo Flood and Ben Youngs.

He told the Leicester Mercury:external-link "We consistently score the most tries in the Premiership because of those two blokes.

"But the powers that be at England have not fully appreciated what they can offer a team.

"England don't want creative players, they are just trying not to lose."

Lancaster has said he is trying to build an attacking philosophy into his England squad.

The England head coach trimmed his squad on Wednesday ahead of the weekend's Six Nations action, with Joe Launchbury, Charlie Sharples and Jordan Turner-Hall all returning to their clubs.

It means 24 players will gather at England's training base in Surrey on Thursday evening. The starting XV and replacements will be announced on Friday morning, before the squad travels to Paris later that day.

Looking ahead to Sunday's match, Hodgson's England team-mate Alex Corbisiero says France present a tough challenge with their formidable front row.

He said: "If they see any weakness or smell blood they will go in for the kill and they will come to every scrum. We are going to have to match them."

The London Irish prop added: "It is going to be tough, we're expecting a real battle. As a team we're going to have to work for 80 minutes and get the win."

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