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'Let's return to reality - Ireland must exercise caution'

Irish expectation soars as Andy Farrell's team sweeps all in its path, but cool heads are needed if they are to heed mistakes of the past

England skipper Owen Farrell has shrugged off latest injury scare

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Rob Newell/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Saracens’ optimism regarding last weekend’s injury suffered by England skipper Owen Farrell has paid off as the out-half has recovered quickly enough to be named in an unchanged XV for this Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup round-of-16 game at home to Ospreys.


Farrell limped off with an ankle injury in the 70th minute of last Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership victory over Harlequins, but the England captain has made a rapid recovery.

Farrell had cried out in pain after rolling his left ankle while making a tackle close to Saracens’ try line at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and hobbled off. The 31-year-old fly-half had injured the same joint while on England duty in the final stage of the Guinness Six Nations, raising concerns that an aggravation might have caused more significant damage.

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However, it was Wednesday when Saracens boss Mark McCall reported: “Owen took part in some of the training today [Wednesday], so we are relatively optimistic that he will be available for this weekend.” So it has proved, Saracens now naming an unchanged starting line-up.

SARACENS: 15. Alex Goode; 14. Max Malins, 13. Alex Lozowski, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Sean Maitland; 10. Owen Farrell (capt), 9. Ivan van Zyl; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Marco Riccioni, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Hugh Tizard, 6. Andrew Christie, 7. Ben Earl, 8. Billy Vunipola. Reps: 16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Alec Clarey, 19. Nick Isiekwe, 20. Jackson Wray, 21. Aled Davies, 22. Duncan Taylor, 23. Alex Lewington.


OSPREYS: 15. Mike Collins; 14. George North, 13. Owen Watkin, 12. Kieran Williams, 11. Luke Morgan; 10. Owen Williams, 9. Rhys Webb; 1. Nicky Smith, 2. Sam Parry, 3. Tom Francis, 4. Adam Beard, 5. Alun Wyn Jones, 6. Ethan Roots, 7. Justin Tipuric (capt), 8. Morgan Morris. Reps: 16. Dewi Lake, 17. Gareth Thomas, 18. Tom Botha, 19. Rhys Davies, 20. Dan Lydiate, 21. Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22. Gareth Anscombe, 23. Iestyn Hopkins.

  • Click here to see all the team selections across this weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup round-of-16 matches


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FEATURE Chaos reigns: The Wallabies must start again from square one Chaos reigns: The Wallabies must start again from square one