Six Nations

Farrell injury blights England's Six Nations build-up

2019-01-19 15:53
Owen Farrell
Owen Farrell (Gallo Images)

London - England captain Owen Farrell has suffered a thumb injury which could rule the fly-half out of his side's Six Nations opener away to Ireland in a fortnight.

Farrell is expected to return in seven to 10 days' time, and so could be ready for the match against the reigning Grand Slam champions in Dublin on February 2.

But the Saracens playmaker is unlikely to take a full part in training during England's upcoming preparation camp in Portugal ahead of an opening match where coach Eddie Jones has warned his side will "need to compete brutally in all the contest areas of the game" if they are to come away from Lansdowne Road with a win.

"Owen has been complaining - but not very much - about his hand being a bit sore," said Saracens coach Mark McCall, whose side, minus Farrell, beat Glasgow 38-19 to top Pool Three of the European Champions Cup on Saturday.

"We decided yesterday (Friday) to send him for a scan to make sure we know what he's got. We thought he was going to play today and it was after the scan that he was pulled out."

Former Ireland centre McCall was adamant that Farrell had not suffered a severe injury, adding: "It turned out to be a very minor problem with a tendon in his thumb. The procedure has already been done this morning.

"As far as I know he'll be back in seven days, something like that, so he should be able to play a full part in the Six Nations," he said after English champions Saracens reached the quarter-finals of European club rugby union's premier competition with a perfect played six, won six record.

Were Farrell ruled out of the Ireland match, his place as England starting flyhalf would likely go to back-up George Ford, with Henry Slade then providing bench cover.

Another alternative option could be to recall Danny Cipriani, although this would be something of a surprise move given the Gloucester No 10 was left out of Jones' 35-man training squad announced on Thursday.

England have reverted to one squad skipper in Farrell after Dylan Hartley, their co-captain during the November internationals, was ruled out of the Ireland match with a knee injury.

Should Farrell be sidelined too, Ford could take over leadership as well as flyhalf duties given he captained England in a win against 2019 World Cup hosts Japan at Twickenham in November.

Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  owen farrell  |  rugby

 

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