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Owen Farrell's comeback hits a snag

By PA
Owen Farrell /PA

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Owen Farrell’s comeback from repeated ankle injuries has stalled for concussion reasons arising from Saracens’ Gallagher Premiership victory over Bristol.

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Farrell was replaced in the 71st minute of the clash in north London on Saturday after departing for an HIA, which he passed.

However, the England playmaker has still been following the return to play protocols this week and has not been picked for Friday’s visit to Sale.

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It is another blow to the 30-year-old, who was making his comeback after four months out because of injuries to each ankle, the first of which was sustained during England’s autumn campaign.

He was poised to return for Saracens in January, in the process aiming to prove his fitness in time for the Six Nations, only to damage the same joint on his other leg during training.

Farrell’s 12-point haul was key to securing a 27-23 victory over Bristol at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, although he also produced the type of controversial tackle that has littered his career.

The veteran of three Lions tours can ill-afford any more setbacks as he battles to reclaim a place in England’s midfield, as well as the captaincy role that has been filled by Courtney Lawes and Tom Curry in his absence.

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Sale boss Alex Sanderson, who coached Farrell when at Saracens, believes he will be a big loss for Friday’s clash.

“Owen’s ability to wrestle back momentum because of the respect and his ability to communicate what is needed, is second to none. What he does on the field, and in and around it, brings everyone else up,” Sanderson said.

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