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England skipper Owen Farrell ruled out of entire 2022 Six Nations

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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England captain Owen Farrell has been ruled out of the entire 2022 Guinness Six Nations because of a fresh ankle problem that requires an operation. Head coach Eddie Jones confirmed on Wednesday that Farrell will need surgery on the injury sustained in training for Saracens last week.

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It was hoped last week when the original squad of 36 England players was announced that Farrell would be available for the opener against Scotland on February 5 after he had recovered from damage to the other ankle which had kept him out for two months after he had limped out of the November win over Australia. 

However, Saracens reported on Friday that Farrell would not appear in his comeback game as planned versus London Irish on Sunday and he would instead be seeking out specialist medical advice about his fresh injury. 

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“Owen is out of the Six Nations,” confirmed Jones on Wednesday morning. “It’s a massive blow for him personally and for the team it’s a blow, but it’s obviously an opportunity for other guys to step up into leadership roles and for other players to play for that twelve jumper.

“We see it more as an opportunity. In today’s rugby, having your best team on the field is a rare occurrence. We are pretty used to it. Last night we had to leave our hotel because we had a fire outside. The boys are adaptable, they knew how to get on with it and there is an opportunity there to build a bit more leadership depth.

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“I don’t know any more about that at this stage,” continued Jones about a potential return date this year for Farrell. “I know a surgeon saw him on Sunday and they are making the plan and they hope to operate as soon as possible. I’m not a doctor but I would imagine the injury rebab is going to be similar to his previous injury.”

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While Jones was attending the virtually held Six Nations launch on Wednesday morning where he confirmed he would be without Farrell for the entire championship, Saracens issued an injury update that read: “Owen Farrell will undergo surgery today [Wednesday] on an ankle injury sustained in training last week. The recovery period has been estimated at eight to ten weeks until his return to action.”

Looking at other England squad developments that included Joe Marler catching Covid for the second time in eleven weeks and the injury absence of Jonny May, Jones added: “Joe seems to have a habit of catching Covid, I don’t know what it is about him. 

“We are hopeful he will be training on Monday or Tuesday. The doctor has got the exact details. Jonny May is more likely than not is going to have some surgery on his knee but the details on that are a little bit sketchy at the moment so he is likely to be out of the Six Nations.”

Regarding the progress of potential skipper Courtney Lawes, whose return to play concussion protocols resulted in Nick Isiekwe getting called in as injury cover, Jones said: “Really well. Quite positive. He is making good steps every day.”

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Meanwhile, Jonny Hill is still touch and go for the championship opener in Edinburgh due to a foot injury. “He is progressing nicely. It is going to be touch and go for him for the Scotland game but we are cautiously optimistic he is going to be right and he has got a really positive mindset. He has got a few hurdles to get over but we are reasonably positive that he will be right.”   

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