Saracens statement: Owen Farrell training ground injury setback
Owen Farrell appears to have been ruled out of contention for the upcoming England Six Nations opener away to Scotland on February 5 after his club Saracens provided a disappointing injury update on Friday. The England skipper was due to play his first match this Sunday for his club following the operation he had on the ankle injury that saw him limp out of the November Test win over Australia at Twickenham.
England boss Eddie Jones had named him in his 36-strong squad last Tuesday for next month’s tournament and he was due to assemble for a week-long training camp next Monday in Brighton after hopefully playing for Saracens in their European Challenge Cup match against London Irish.
However, that plan has now been scratched with Saracens issuing a statement indicating that Farrell will instead be seeing a specialist next week about his ankle injury rather than training with England ahead of the Six Nations.
The Saracens statement read: “Owen Farrell suffered an injury in training this week ahead of the game against London Irish, ruling him out of the match. Owen was back in full training having recovered from the ankle injury he sustained against Australia during the Autumn internationals. We will have a further update after he sees a specialist early next week.”
Saracens boss Mark McCall has hinted on Wednesday that there was no guarantee Farrell would play this Sunday versus London Irish, despite the hype generated by Jones when he named him the previous day to lead his England squad.
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“He has been involved with the team for a couple of weeks now and has been in some team training this week, so we will see towards the end of the week whether he is able to take part in the match on Sunday,” explained McCall at the time. “We will see how he recovers from that team training. We have a few more training sessions to go before the game on Sunday, and we will make a late decision on whether that is possible.
“There is going to be a late decision. This is the first week Owen is going to be team training and we have just got to see how he reacts to the training he had yesterday [Tuesday] and has tomorrow [Thursday] before we make a decision.”
Unlike the other 35 players named in the 36-strong England, Farrell had no recent form when it came to this week’s Test squad selection but his credit in the bank was enough to convince Jones to not only include him but to also name him as captain for the championship.
“He has the respect of the team, he is a winner, he drives the competitive spirit of the team and he is the right man to lead the team,” explained Jones on Tuesday when asked why he had given Farrell a vote of confidence even though he had been inactive over the winter with Saracens.
“He is due to play this week, has another training week and then he will be eligible for selection, but we have to see where he is up to.”
Regarding the other Saracens players named by Jones in his England squad, Maro Itoje will start against London Irish at second row with hooker Jamie George named as a sub in their Challenge Cup team. Max Malins doesn’t feature. Meanwhile, the out-of-favour England trio of Billy and Mako Vunipola and Elliot Daly were included as Saracens starters by McCall.
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