1. ITV Report

England captain Owen Farrell is 'confident' he will be fit in time to face Ireland

England face Ireland in their opening game of the Six Nations Photo: PA

Owen Farrell is confident he will be fit to lead England into their Guinness Six Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin.

Farrell on Saturday underwent surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his thumb, casting doubt over his involvement against Joe Schmidt's champions at the Aviva Stadium on February 3.

Saracens issued a prognosis of seven to 10 days of recovery but Farrell expects to be fully involved in the squad's pre-tournament camp in Portugal that begins in earnest on Friday.

"The hand is good. I had something small done to it on the weekend," Farrell said at the Six Nations launch in south west London.

"I should be training towards the end of this week. It was a gradual thing and is something small."

When asked if he expected to play against Ireland, Farrell replied: "I'm confident, yes."

As captain, playmaker-in-chief, goalkicker and talisman, Farrell's fitness is key to England's hopes of causing an upset against Ireland.

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