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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.

Farrell remains a doubt for Champions Cup quarter-final

Credit: PA

Owen Farrell will be given until Friday to prove his fitness for Saracens' Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster but Billy Vunipola has been ruled out of the trip to Dublin.

Farrell is struggling with a quad injury he suffered in England's final NatWest 6 Nations match against Ireland and only returned to light training on Wednesday with Alex Lozowski on standby to deputise.

Vunipola had been pencilled in to make his comeback from the fractured arm sustained in January at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday but remains a couple of weeks away from full fitness.

"We'll make a decision on Owen on Friday. His chances are probably 50-50. Billy won't be available," Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said.

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England must explain tunnel fracas involving Farrell

Credit: PA

England must explain the tunnel fracas involving Owen Farrell at Murrayfield on Saturday following a request for clarification by Six Nations Rugby.

The Rugby Football Union and its Scottish counterparts have been asked to provide their accounts of the scuffle that took place shortly before Eddie Jones' men were defeated 25-13 in a pulsating Calcutta Cup match.

Television footage appears to show a clash between Farrell, England's inside centre, and Scotland number eight Ryan Wilson that ended when they were pulled apart by team-mates.

The incident unfolded as the players left the pitch and entered the tunnel upon completion of their warm-ups.

For more news and highlights visit our dedicated NatWest 6 Nations site: www.itv.com/six-nations

Farrell voted best player by Rugby World Magazine

Credit: PA

England playmaker Owen Farrell has been voted the game's best player by Rugby World magazine.

Farrell is joined in the top 10 by international colleague Maro Itoje with Courtney Lawes the next highest-placed member of Eddie Jones' squad at 17th.

New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett - the reigning world player of the year - is second and Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa third.

Top 10: 1) Owen Farrell, 2) Beauden Barrett, 3) Leone Nakarawa, 4) Maro Itoje, 5) Israel Folau, 6) Stuart Hogg, 7) Jonathan Davies, 8) Michael Hooper, 9) Tadhg Furlong, 10) Brodie Retallick.

Farrell and Itoje nominated for World Rugby's player of the year award

Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje have been nominated for World Rugby's player of the year award. Credit: PA

Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje have been nominated for World Rugby's player of the year award.

The England duo make the shortlist after excelling for the British and Irish Lions in the summer's drawn Test series with New Zealand.

All Blacks pair Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane and Australia's Israel Folau complete the contenders, with a new star-studded awards panel making the selections.

Supporters, international captains, coaches and the media will be able to add their voice to the deliberations, before the panel makes the ultimate decisions, with the gongs dished out at World Rugby's annual awards dinner in Monaco on November 26.

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