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Eddie Jones confirms that Owen Farrell will miss the entire Six Nations

The Saracens man has undergone surgery on an ankle injury.

Farrell will miss the Six Nations.
Farrell will miss the Six Nations.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

ENGLAND HEAD COACH Eddie Jones has confirmed that captain Owen Farrell will miss the entire Six Nations after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury.

Farrell will be sidelined for eight to 10 weeks and Jones said, “It’s a massive blow for him personally, but it’s a chance for people to step up.”

The injury to the highly-experienced Farrell means that 22-year-old Harlequins out-half Marcus Smith is set to steer the England team from the number 10 shirt for the full championship.

England have called up Leicester’s George Ford to the squad in place of Farrell but Jones is expected to back Smith at out-half following his impressive outings there last autumn and his scintillating form for Quins.

“For a young guy to play against the number one country in the world and the number three country in the world in his second or third Test match and steer the team to victory, what I enjoyed most, particularly his effort against South Africa, was that it was one of those games we had to win two or three times,” said Jones of Smith.

“He showed a lot of courage and we went out to attack the space which is not always easy because of their rushing defence and he showed a lot of composure and a lot of skill. He’s only going to get better during the Six Nations.”

Courtney Lawes is seen as the likely England captain in Farrell’s absence but he is currently sidelined with a head injury.

“He’s doing really well, quite positive and he’s making good steps every day,” said Jones of Lawes.

England will also be without wing Jonny May, who is set for knee surgery and has been replaced in the England squad by Elliot Daly.

Ireland won’t face England until round 4 of the Six Nations on 12 March and Jones said he is more concerned about their opening clash against Scotland when asked about Andy Farrell’s side.

“The only game we’re worried about is Scotland,” said Jones.

“I obviously watched the games and our coaching staff watched the games in autumn and we’re pleased they’re doing well. Andy Farrell is a good mate of mine and I’m glad he’s doing so well, but we’re just going to make sure that he doesn’t do so well against us.”

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Meanwhile, Jones also said that England would be open to getting former Ireland football international Roy Keane back into their camp as a guest speaker.

Keane was brought in before the 2019 World Cup to speak to the players and went down very well.

“Well, he’s one of the funniest blokes I’ve ever met,” said Jones. “He’s inspirational but his stories are incredible, mate. I remember our coaching staff spent about an hour with him and he had us just laughing and laughing and laughing.

“Then he spoke to the players and he was equally as funny. He was certainly one of the most memorable guys we have had in, obviously a very good player and a tough guy in terms of the way he played the game. A great raconteur of football stories so we would be happy to get him in again.”

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Murray Kinsella

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