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Back problem rules Owen Farrell out of Saracens' Aviva Premiership opener

Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell will miss the start of the Aviva Premiership season with a back problem that director of rugby Mark McCall insists is only minor.

Farrell, who was instrumental in England's 3-0 series whitewash of Australia in June, sustained the injury during pre-season more than a month ago and has been managing it since.

The 24-year-old will sit out at least the Premiership opener against Worcester at Twickenham on September 3 and possibly additional matches, but McCall insists the prognosis is short term.

"Owen has a little bit of a back niggle, but it's nothing serious. We'll have to see how it is at the start of next week," McCall said.

"It isn't related to the England tour, it's something that has been picked up in the last five weeks. We don't expect him to miss too much though."

Farrell was a central figure in Saracens' march to a Premiership and Champions Cup last season and, on the strength of his displays against the Wallabies in June, is knocking on the door of world class status.

Alex Lozowski, a summer recruit from Wasps, will deputise at fly-half in Farrell's absence, while Alex Goode is also an option in the position.

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