Owen Farrell conundrum is first big test for Borthwick as England coach | Gerard Meagher

Steve Borthwick must take one of a series of tricky options – perhaps acknowledging it is a messy situation would be best

Steve Borthwick is about to learn fast that invidious positions come with the territory as England head coach. The mess that surrounds Owen Farrell’s participation in England’s Six Nations opener against Scotland – and their preparations beforehand – is not one of his making but one he is likely to have to clear up.

To recap, Farrell is banned for three matches – all Saracens fixtures because the disciplinary panel decided not to consider England games before Borthwick has announced his squad. One of those, the Premiership game against Bristol on 28 January, was one he would never play in. The panel left the door open for Farrell’s ban to be amended to include the Calcutta Cup if his likely selection in Borthwick’s squad next Monday is deemed to be enough of a “change in circumstances”.

Continue reading…