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Farrell targets England progress
Andy Farrell will rejoin the England coaching team on Monday with the aim of delivering a Rugby World Cup triumph on home soil in 2015 - and he is confident the red rose chariot is rolling in the right direction.
Farrell's first job will be to help Stuart Lancaster select his elite squad for the QBE internationals against Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji. England must retain fourth place in the world rankings by the end of that series if they are to be top seeds in their own World Cup in 2015.
Farrell believes England will return to Twickenham in November stronger for the experience of having taken on the Springboks on South African soil and finishing a brutal series with a 14-14 draw. He said: "That type of experience is invaluable."
He added: "England went out after a great Six Nations campaign, a great start in the new life of this English side, and to see the passion and life and death (attitude towards) sport over there is a fantastic experience for the young team.
"To fight on all fronts in all three games and to come away with a draw at the end is no mean feat at all. It is a valuable experience this side has for the future."
Farrell resumes his role as assistant coach - responsible for the backs and defence - on a full-time basis after signing a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Rugby Football Union.
Farrell had been part of the interim coaching set-up, with Lancaster and Graham Rowntree, which guided England from the wreckage of their World Cup campaign to second place in the RBS 6 Nations championship.
Lancaster wanted to make the appointment permanent once he got the full-time job but Farrell initially decided his coaching future lay with Saracens, where he still had two years left on a contract. Farrell had a change of heart at the end of the season and resigned from his position as Saracens head coach, opening the way for his return to the England fold.
In the meantime, Mike Catt was appointed in a temporary coaching role for the summer tour and he could still be added to an expanded senior management group. If Catt is retained, he may well oversee the attack side of England's game with Farrell's job description altered to focus more specifically on defence. The two could dovetail nicely.
When Farrell sits down with Lancaster and Rowntree to finalise the elite squad, they will consider replacements for Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson and Bath hooker Lee Mears who both retired after being told they do not feature in England's future plans.