Fit Farrell ready to face Ireland

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Rugby Union - England v Japan - Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, Britain - November 17, 2018 England's Owen Farrell applauds fans after the match. Reuters/Andrew Boyers

LONDON (Reuters) – England captain Owen Farrell said yesterday he is recovering well from hand surgery and fully expects to be fit to face Ireland in the team’s opening Six Nations game against the champions on February 2.

“The hand is good. I had something small done to it on the weekend,” Farrell said at the tournament launch in London following an operation to repair a thumb tendon.

“I should be training towards the end of this week. It was a gradual thing and is something small,” added the 27-year-old, who is expected to start at flyhalf in Dublin.

When asked if he expected to play against Ireland, Farrell said: “I’m confident, yes.”

Coach Eddie Jones said he had very few injury concerns – in contrast to the November series when he was forced to try a number of new combinations.

“I’m confident Owen’s going to play and we’ve got George (Ford) there so we’re well stocked for number 10s at the moment,” Jones said.

“The one thing consistent about international rugby is the inconsistency of your squad. You work out how you’re going to play, who’s going to play and then you take it from there.

“Every player is motivated and 100 percent committed. Obviously it’s great to have blokes like Billy and Mako (Vunipola), Joe Launchbury and Ellis Genge back, they’re great players, but those who played in the autumn did a fantastic job.

“We are flying out to Portugal today – there are a couple a little bit sore from the weekend but probably got 34 of the 36 who could train today if they needed to.”

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