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Owen Farrell a doubt for England as he has gone into isolation

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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England skipper Owen Farrell has emerged as a major doubt to play in Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series opener versus Tonga at Twickenham. Eddie Jones’ squad has come under scrutiny for Covid since a staff member tested positive on Thursday morning, resulting in additional testing getting carried out on the squad. 

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This has now resulted in skipper Farrell being placed in isolation ahead of a fixture that was set to be his 100th Test match appearance. An RFU statement on Friday morning read: “Owen Farrell will miss today’s captain’s run training session after receiving a positive PCR test result for Covid.

“He will remain in isolation and will be LFT and PCR tested again today. All other players and staff PCR test results received are negative and England are continuing preparations for Saturday’s match against Tonga.”

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Thursday’s emergence of Covid in the England camp led to a delay in their team announcement. “Apologies for the delay,” said Jones at the time when his scheduled media briefing began 45 minutes behind schedule.

“Unfortunately this morning we had one of our backroom staff test positive on the lateral flow so we then had to test all the players, test the rest of the staff and do PCR tests, but training was then able to proceed as normal and at this stage, we are cautiously optimistic everything will proceed as normal. They [the PCR tests] are in Nottingham at the moment,” continued Jones, adding they will learn the results “as quickly as Robin Hood can get them back”. 

Saturday was set to be skipper Farrell’s 100th Test match appearance. He currently has 93 England caps and another six for the Lions, and Eddie Jones paid tribute on Thursday to the prospective Test centurion. “He has been a fine ambassador for English rugby.

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“He is a hard-working player, he has copped a lot of criticism throughout his career and he has had to battle hard to be a Test player and he continues to battle hard, continues to battle to be his best and we haven’t seen the best of him yet and that is the exciting thing. He is still a young man, 29 years of age. He has played nearly 100 Tests and there is still more to come for him.”

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