England’s Ben Foden gives Stuart Lancaster fitness headache
England full-back Ben Foden has given Stuart Lancaster a fitness headache after picking up suspected ankle ligament damage
England full-back Ben Foden gave Stuart Lancaster a fitness headache ahead of the autumn internationals by picking up suspected ankle ligament damage in Northampton Saints’ 18-14 win over Bath.
The Red Rose take on Fiji on 10 November and despite Saints boss Jim Mallinder’s post-match assertion that there was no broken bones it will still be a worry for Lancaster.
Foden’s fitness won’t be the only concern for the England boss after his star turn at fly-half during last year’s RBS 6 Nations Owen Farrell showed a worrying lack of form against Leicester Tigers.
Farrell has become well known for a calmness that belied his tender years but it deserted him at Wembley as Saracens and Tigers drew 9-9.
The 20-year-old No.10 missed four of five penalty attempts and was withdrawn early in the second half with replacement Charlie Hodgson sparing his – and Sarries’ – blushes to claim a draw.
Hodgson retired from international duty in the summer while in the battle of the England fly-halves past and present Toby Flood kicked all of the Tigers’ points.
Sarries boss Mark McCall insisted that Farrell would bounce back stronger for the experience, saying: “Owen’s not had much practice recently, he’s had a small groin injury which has stopped him practicing as much as usual and it’s very rare he has a day like this one.
“He’s a magnificent player for us but every man has the odd bad day at the office and I know he has the strength of character to come back.”
Elsewhere the impressive Mike Brown scored the try that sealed Harlequins’ bonus point after a 37-14 win over Sale which sent them back to Premiership summit.
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