England captain Owen Farrell set to play his first game since November with Saracens fly-half in contention for Saturday’s match against Bristol after recovering from ankle injury
- Owen Farrelll hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury on England duty
- He missed the Six Nations after injuring his other ankle in a freak accident
- Saracens fly-half is expected to be cleared to play against Bristol on Saturday
England captain Owen Farrell is set to make his comeback from injury for Saracens on Saturday – and has been backed to show that club and country have missed his ‘unique’ leadership.
The 30-year-old fly-half hasn’t played since suffering ankle injury while on Test duty against Australia last November.
Farrell was on the verge of a return to action in late January when a freak accident in training at Saracens caused damage to his other ankle, which ruled him out of the Six Nations. He had been named as Red Rose skipper by Eddie Jones, before the setback.
Owen Farrell is set to make his comeback from injury for Saracens on Saturday
Farrell is expected to be cleared to play in a Premiership fixture against Bristol at Tottenham’s stadium this weekend.
Mark McCall, Saracens ‘director of rugby, said:’ Owen has been in team training over the last couple of weeks and will be available for selection. We’ll assess him tomorrow and Friday and make sure everything is okay. Fingers crossed, he will be able to take part.
‘He is the captain of the club and he is a great player, everyone knows that. If he does play, he is certainly looking forward to it and we are chuffed to have him back. ‘
In the Six Nations, England lost three of their five games, while being led first by Tom Curry and then by Courtney Lawes.
Asked if he felt the absence of Farrell was a critical factor in that disappointing campaign, McCall added: ‘I can just talk about the leader and the player I know. I will leave others to draw conclusions as to how valuable he is to his country di lui. The leader I know is sensational.
England fly-half hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury against Australia last November
‘I’ve never come across someone who can lead the way he does. He leads by example, that’s obvious, but he can also lead vocally and he has the clarity of thought to understand if something is wrong, what needs to be fixed.
‘He finds solutions to problems better than most. He articulates that to his team-mates better than most. And he’s an inspiration. As a captain, he’s rare and unique. As a player, he is a force of nature and he’s a Test match animal. A big game brings the best out of him. Certainly we have missed him over this period and in my own view England have too. ‘
Now that Farrell is poised to make his comeback at long last, Saracens are confident that it won’t be long before he is operating at his peak again. McCall said: ‘It’s easy to look back on history and that tells us normally (he fits in) pretty quickly.
‘He missed about four months one summer, then came back for an away game against Toulon in the Champions Cup. It was his first game of the season. He was unbelievable that day. He’s got the potential to hit the ground running, that’s for sure. I think we all have to be patient and be aware his best rugby di lui probably won’t be this Saturday, but will be in the weeks to come. ‘
Mark McCall praised Farrell’s leadership ability and says he is an inspirational figure