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Fears for Farrell over knee injury

Owen Farrell gave Stuart Lancaster an injury scare on the eve of England's RBS 6 Nations get together as he hobbled off in the first half of Saracens' defeat to Clermont Auvergne.

Sarries set up a European Champions Cup quarter-final meeting with Racing Metro despite a disappointing 18-6 loss at the Stade Marcel-Michelin on Sunday.

Of more concern to England head coach Lancaster will be the fitness of Farrell, who hobbled off in the 18th minute after twisting his left knee in a collision with Clermont flanker Julien Bardy.

Farrell is due to meet up with the rest of his England team-mates on Monday and Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall says the fly-half will be assessed in the coming days before a decision is made on whether he can take part in England's first Six Nations fixture against Wales.

"I wouldn't want to say right now. It's a new injury and we don't know the extent of it just yet," McCall told the Daily Telegraph when asked whether Farrell would be fit for the game in Cardiff a week on Friday.

"It's complicated with knee injuries, sometimes you can do that [walk off] and it's more serious, but we'll get him looked after and we'll know in the next few days."

It has been a bad weekend for Lancaster. Bath centre Kyle Eastmond injured his shoulder in the 20-15 win over Glasgow Warriors while forwards Geoff Parling and Tom Wood were injured during Saturday's matches.

Although Farrell lost his place in the England team to George Ford last autumn, Lancaster still views the Sarries back as an important part of the squad.

If Farrell is ruled out, either Danny Cipriani or Northampton's Stephen Myler will challenge Ford for a place in the starting XV.

Sarries missed Farrell when he came off on Sunday as they scraped into the quarter-finals as the lowest-ranked team.

Charlie Hodgson scored two penalties, but missed another and Sarries also failed to score a try in the match.

Clermont, whose only defeat in the competition came at Saracens last year, had no such trouble on the attack.

Nick Abendanon and Vincent Debaty scored tries while Camille Lopez and Brock James were successful with the boot for Clermont, who will host Northampton in the quarter-finals.

Whoever wins that match will play either Racing or Sarries in the semi-finals.

It was a day of mixed emotions for McCall, who was happy his team went through despite the defeat.

"Today is disappointing for us," McCall told BT Sport.

"We really felt we had a chance to win and I thought we under-performed in certain areas, particularly when we had the ball.

"But this was a pretty tough group so we are delighted to still be in the competition."


From Belfast Telegraph