BEPPU, 18 Oct - Eddie Jones has urged Owen Farrell to put individual preparation back to the top of his agenda as he heads into Saturday's quarter-final with Australia in Oita.
Recognising his captain had spent too much time sorting out other squad members during the pool games, head coach Jones "had a chat" with Farrell. He wants his main goal-kicker to focus on getting England into the last four.
"Well, he's got quite a big job for us. He's captain and he's goal-kicker," said Jones, pictured above with Farrell. "The responsibility of being captain at the World Cup is much larger than normal test matches, because you're bringing a group of 31 players together for... how long have we been together now? Eight or nine weeks.
"You get all the family issues. You go to the dinner table, one brother is happy, one brother is unhappy. Someone doesn't know if they are happy or not. He's the father of that group so to speak. His ability to delegate, to know what to say to players is a challenging experience for a young guy like him. He's coping with it really well.
"I feel like sometimes, maybe earlier in the tournament, he spent too much time in the captaincy area and not enough on his own individual prep, but I've seen a real change in that this week.
"Why was Steve Smith so successful in the Ashes? One of the reasons was he didn't have to worry about the bowling team, he didn't have to worry about setting fields. All he had to worry about was batting. It's much simpler when you're just a player. When you are captain, you've got more responsibilities, and as you go on as a captain you learn how to get the balance right.
"Owen is a warrior. He leads from the front, competes and he's tough. And that's what we've tried to produce in this team. We've got a tough team that competes hard and that's how we want to play. That's the England style of playing."
Jones has plenty of World Cup experience, having been involved with Australia, South Africa, Japan and now England. He acknowledges selection for the quarter-final reflects the three performances in Japan and says he is now in charge of a squad of samurai.
"How many samurai have we got: 23, mate. And we've got eight in the caves up there," he said, pointing to the hills behind the team hotel in Beppu.
"That is where all the samurai lived. Every time the samurai fought, one lived, and one died. It will be the same on Saturday. Someone is going to live, and someone is going to die. That's what the game is about and that's the excitement. You get the best eight teams, all playing for their lives.
"The great thing about the World Cup is that every game is a knockout. No one has won a World Cup after losing a game and there is a reason for that. That's what I enjoy so much about a World Cup, every game is a knockout. Every game is potentially a knockout."