Six Nations 2015: Owen Farrell ruled out of tournament with knee injury

Saracens star among a number of injured England players causing headaches for coaching team ahead of Wales clash

Owen Farrell has been ruled out of the Six Nations with a knee injury.

The 23-year-old Saracens outside-half, who went off after just 19 minutes of their European Champions Cup clash with Clermont-Auvergne on Sunday, has a high-grade medial ligament strain.

It’s a real shame for Owen that he sustained this injury and we wish him the best for his recovery.

Stuart Lancaster

While Bath’s George Ford had nudged ahead of Farrell at for the QBE Internationals last November, Farrell was still in contention to start against Wales before going off in the first half of the European Champions Club clash.

His absence now means that Ford is certain to start the match with Sale Sharks outside-half Danny Cipriani vying with Northampton’s Stephen Myler as cover.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster has already been forced to promote Leicester flanker Tom Croft and Northampton lock Christian Day from the Saxons squad after Leicester lock Geoff Parling (knee) and Northampton back-rower Tom Wood (ankle) sustained injuries during the final round of the European Champions Cup.

“It’s a real shame for Owen that he sustained this injury and we wish him the best for his recovery,” Lancaster said.

“We are fortunate to have three other No 10s in the squad in what is a very competitive position and we will look forward to seeing how they go over the Six Nations.”

But England’s injury crisis worsened on Sunday after the Saracens and Bath contests, with Lancaster also waiting on assessments of centre trio Brad Barritt (knee), Kyle Eastmond (shoulder) and Luther Burrell (concussion).

Burrell will undergo the graduated return to play protocol with a view to taking part in full training on Friday.

“We will continue to assess and treat the other players’ injuries and will provide an update at the [Six Nations] launch tomorrow,” Lancaster added”

The news comes just 10 days before England kick off their Six Nations campaign with a tough test against Wales in Cardiff.

England trained for the first time on Tuesday, but did so with Bath’s Jonathan Joseph and Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees as the only fit centres with Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi already ruled out.

The centre crisis could make Lancaster give serious consideration to expediting the introduction to international rugby of Bath’s Sam Burgess, who has impressed since switching codes and is set to play for England Saxons against Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork on Friday.

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