Scotland’s chances of their first Triple Crown since 1990 and their first win at Twickenham since 1983 today edged up slightly with England’s key man Owen Farrell taking no part in their final training session yesterday.
The inside centre didn’t even attempt a run or a kick on the leg injury that saw him limp out of training on Thursday. England’s defence coach Paul Gustard said the 25-year-old would undergo a late fitness test this morning.
Farrell’s absence clould prove hugely disruptive to an England side that have won three from three games so far in the 2017 Six Nations and 17 matches in a row – one short of the all-time record – but have been stretching for their best form this championship.
Ben Te’o, usually an outside centre, is slated as Farrell’s replacement but the absence of the British Lion’s kicking game – both field kicking and his prolific placekicking – could completely alter England’s gameplan.
Scotland attack coach Jason O’Halloran wasn’t admitting to licking his lips at the absence of Farrell, but he thinks it would change the home team’s gameplan.
“It may be a little unsettling for them,” he said. “They’ve got a quality player in Te’o to come in which will present some different challenges to us, but they’ve got some real depth and I’m sure Eddie (Jones) will have a contingency.
“It will change their kicking policy, they won’t have as good a kicking option at 12 if he doesn’t play.
“It may mean Mike Brown may needed as an exit option to take a bit of pressure off George Ford.
“But on the other hand Te’o is a really direct and powerful runner who can get over the gain line. If they want to play a power game then he could be a really big danger.”