CM – Farrell doubts Six Nations as Jones vows England won’t be « weak »



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The Englishman Owen Farrell, who has to undergo an ankle surgery and is expected to be out for 10-12 weeks, has announced his club Saracens. Photo: Andrew Matthews / PA Wire

Duncan Bech

England captain Owen Farrell is in doubt for the start of the Six Nations after Saracens announced he would be out for up to three months due to an ankle surgery. </ Farrell has given 10 to 12 weeks to recover which means he could miss the opening game against Scotland on February 5 and possibly the second round to Rome eight days later due to a lack of fitness. The playmaker hobbled late in the loss to Australia last Saturday with the injury that excluded him from the high point of autumn against South Africa.

It continues an unfortunate campaign for the 30-year-old after he had to self-isolate to kick off Tonga only so that his Covid sample was belatedly confirmed as false positive. Courtney Lawes led England against the Islanders and he will also be at the forefront when the Springboks visit Twickenham tomorrow.

Marcus Smith is currently considered the Fly Half of First Pick and should Farrell’s recovery be delayed, Eddie Jones could recall the disgraced George Ford as cover.

Jones, however, emphasized where tomorrow’s game will be won and lost by igniting the fuse for England’s forward battle by stating that his pack is ready to shatter the perception of springboks as « weak ».

England must try to beat the dreaded Springbok Eights, backed up from the bench by the Bomb Squad, with a front row that includes rookies Bevan Rodd and Jamie Blamire. Injuries and a Covid-19 outbreak have caused Jamie George, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Ellis Genge, leaving newbies Rodd and Blamire to occupy the barricades alongside Kyle Sinckler. Loosehead Joe Marler left self-isolation yesterday and is limited to a bank role.

Two years ago South Africa used its scrum to tear England apart in Yokohama and despite their weakened condition, Jones is demanding that their strikers sound a defiant tone.

« They said after the World Cup final where they beat us fairly and fairly, they knew how to play against us, they knew where our weaknesses were and they indicated that our striker was weak », said Jones.

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“Siya Kolisi said after the World Cup final that he knew how to beat us. Obviously their game is based on physicality so it means they can outperform our strikers package.

We don’t have a ‘bomb squad’ South Africa is so proud of, but we have Joe Marler and Will Stuart. ”

England (v South Africa) – F Steward; J. Marchant, H. Slade, M. Tuilagi, J. Mai; M. Smith, B. Youngs; B Rodd, J Blamire, K Sinckler, M Itoje, J Hill, C Lawes, S Underhill, T Curry. Repetitions: N Dolly, J Marler, W Stuart, C Ewels, S Simmonds, A Dombrandt, R Quirke, M Malins




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