Farrell a doubt for Scotland

Date published: March 9 2017

England head coach Eddie Jones admitted that Owen Farrell is a doubt for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Scotland.

Farrell was seen receiving treatment on a leg injury during Thursday’s media access before leaving the practice field for further treatment.

In a press conference best described as prickly a few hours later at England’s Pennyhill Park base, Jones admitted that Farrell was a concern going into England’s fourth match of the championship, although he would not reveal the exact area where he was injured.

“He could be in doubt, mate,” he said.

“Could be in doubt. He’s got a bad leg, so he couldn’t finish training. I think he ran into my dog, he ran into her! He’ll be alright. I think he’ll be alright.”

Farrell despite a rare off day for England against Italy on his 50th cap has been in excellent touch for the reigning Six Nations champions since Jones took over, and his absence would stick the spotlight on George Ford’s goalkicking.

“We’ve got some great goalkickers – George Ford,” added Jones.

“But Owen will be right, he’s in doubt but we’ll see. He should be right.

“He just ran into someone at training – as simple as that. He’ll be alright, possibly.”

Jones hinted that should Farrell be forced out of the game through injury then Ben Te’o would be ready to come in and start at inside centre, forming a new partnership with Jonathan Joseph.

“We have plenty of back-ups. Ben Te’o can play 12, he’s an exceptional player, so there’s no risk for us.”

Speculation earlier in the week that Billy Vunipola would start on his return to fitness for England proved to be false, with Nathan Hughes retaining the number eight shirt and Vunipola left on the bench.

Jones admitted that Vunipola was not quite ready to start, after making his comeback from a knee injury last weekend in the Premiership for Saracens, but equally was not concerned about Vunipola having to make an early impact off the bench should that scenario arise.

“[Billy’s] always in with a chance, he’s one of our best players, but he’s not ready to start yet,” he explained.

“There’s a number of permutations that can happen. If I worried about every permutation I’ll never sleep. I probably don’t sleep enough now. I’ll worry about things when they happen during the game.”

by Ben Coles