Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
England captain Owen Farrell has been ruled out of the entire Guinness Six Nations because of an ankle problem.
Head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed that Farrell needs surgery on the injury sustained in training for Saracens last week.
It was hoped that the 30-year-old would start the opener against Scotland on February 5th after recovering from damage to the other ankle which had kept him out for two months.
🤕 𝗜𝗡𝗝𝗨𝗥𝗬 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘
Owen Farrell will undergo surgery today on an ankle injury sustained in training last week.
The recovery period has been estimated at eight to ten weeks until his return to action. #StrongerTogether ⚫️🔴
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) January 26, 2022
Saracens have confirmed that Farrell will undergo surgery on Wednesday and faces eight to 10 weeks of rehabilitation.
“Owen is out of the Six Nations. It’s a massive blow for him personally and for the team it’s a blow,” Jones said.
“But it’s obviously an opportunity for other guys to step up into leadership roles and for other players to play for that 12 jumper.
“We see it more as an opportunity. In today’s rugby, having your best team on the field is a rare occurrence. We’re pretty used to it. There’s an opportunity there to build a bit more leadership depth.”
British and Irish Lions flanker Courtney Lawes is pencilled in to replace Farrell as captain, resuming a role he filled with distinction during the autumn.
Lawes is progressing through the return-to-play protocols for concussion sustained on Northampton duty against Ulster on January 16 but should recover in time for the trip to Murrayfield.
“Courtney is progressing nicely and we’re still hopeful he’ll be available for Scotland,” Jones said.
The outlook on Jonny May is less positive, however, with the Gloucester wing set to miss the whole Championship because of an ongoing knee issue.
“Jonny’s more likely than not going to have some surgery, but the details on that are a bit sketchy at the moment. He’s more than likely to be out of the Six Nations,” Jones said.