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England captain Farrell undergoing thumb procedure

England's preparations for their Guinness Six Nations opener against Ireland have been thrown into disarray by a thumb injury to captain Owen Farrell. Credit: PA

England's preparations for their Guinness Six Nations opener against Ireland have been thrown into disarray by a thumb injury to captain Owen Farrell.

Farrell is undergoing a procedure to repair ligament damage and is expected to return in seven to 10 days, making him available for the title showdown in Dublin in a fortnight.

However, with England departing for their pre-tournament training camp in Portugal on Wednesday the Saracens playmaker's ability to train will be severely restricted.

The worst case scenario would mean he is unable to take part in sessions until four days before the Aviva Stadium showdown.

"It's a simple procedure and he should be back in seven to 10 days," Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall told BT Sport before the Champions cup clash with Glasgow.

In the event Farrell suffers a setback, his place at fly-half would be taken by George Ford with Henry Slade providing further cover after Danny Cipriani was omitted from the training squad named by Eddie Jones on Thursday.

Ford could also take Farrell's leadership duties as Dylan Hartley is recovering from a knee injury.

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Underhill could be doubt for England's Six Nations openers

Flanker Sam Underhill could be a doubt for England's opening Guinness Six Nations games against Ireland and France. Credit: PA

Flanker Sam Underhill could be a doubt for England's opening Guinness Six Nations games against Ireland and France.

Underhill's club Bath have confirmed that he suffered an ankle ligament injury during last Sunday's Gallagher Premiership victory over Leicester.

The west country club say "further detail around his expected return" will be provided after he is reviewed by a specialist.

It is understood that Underhill could be sidelined for at least four weeks, and that will give England head coach Eddie Jones a fitness concern ahead of the Six Nations.

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England to face Netherlands in Nations League semi-final

Kane scored a dramatic late winner to send England through to the semi-final. Credit: PA

England will face Holland in the UEFA Nations League semi-final next summer.

Gareth Southgate's men qualified for the last four of the inaugural tournament with a late victory over Croatia last month, topping their group.

The tie will be played in Guimaraes in Portugal on June 6.

Hosts Portugal will play Switzerland in the other last-four tie on June 5 in Porto.

The final and third-place play-off will take place on June 9.

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