Owen Farrell has little doubt that he would have been able to kick the leveling penalty in last night's defeat to Wales but has defended the team's decision to kick to the corner.
A few eyebrows were raised when Chris Robshaw mentioned that he had 'chatted to the kickers' before making the decision, almost insinuating that they might not have been confident of being able to slot to the penalty. However judging by Farrell's comments this was not the case and instead, they genuinely thought 'let's go and win this.'
Farrell told the Telegraph 'You tend to back yourself as a kicker, but wanted to back the decision,' before explaining why, with this attitude in mind, they didn't kick for goal:
We had a chat about the decision together and we came up with the decision that we wanted to go for the win together. As a kicker, if the decision as a group was to go for goal, then you back yourself, that’s why you do the job. But at that time we wanted to go and win the game.
It’s a risk-reward type thing. When you make the decision as a group to go for the corner you back it. We believed that we could win the game by doing that. If it comes off then the decision is brilliant, but it hasn’t turned out that way this time.
Robshaw and co. have come in for heavy criticism in the English press for their decision but Farrell doesn't appear to have any regrets:
If doesn’t work out you’ll get criticised. It’s something to jump on. We wanted to go and win the game and back ourselves to do that. It’s not worked out this time, but if we’d got the match-winning try everyone would have praised the decision.
At the end of the day, perhaps too much is being made of the fact they kicked to the corner. The subsequent line-out and maul into touch was much more disastrous. Maybe I'm looking on with green-tinted glasses but if Ireland had a line-out, five metres from goal, you would back to execute and at the very least work the easier position for a drop at goal.