Owen Farrell rocked by Six Nations KO

England's bumpy build-up to the Six Nations continued apace as Owen Farrell was ruled out of the entire competition through injury with Jonny May looking destined to share the fate of his captain.

Jonny Hill has emerged as a doubt for the opener against Scotland on February 5 because of a foot problem, while Eddie Jones is only "hopeful" that Courtney Lawes - the likely replacement for Farrell as skipper - will recover from concussion in time for the trip to Murrayfield.

And on a dramatic Tuesday, Joe Marler tested positive for coronavirus just hours before an electrical fire that erupted from a manhole on Brighton seafront forced the squad to evacuate their hotel and find new accommodation for the night.

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Head coach Jones has embraced the extraordinary level of disruption faced by England as an opportunity to adapt, but acknowledged that "Scotland are probably up in Edinburgh now not escaping fires and being able to train well".

Owen Farrell watched on by dad, AndyOwen Farrell watched on by dad, Andy
Owen Farrell watched on by dad, Andy

Of all the setbacks, Jones will feel most acutely Farrell's absence for the whole Six Nations due to surgery undertaken on Monday that will require eight to 10 weeks of rehabilitation.

The 30-year-old had been inked in to start at inside centre where he would assist fly-half Marcus Smith with the playmaking duties, but yet another midfield rebuild is now needed.

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In a cruel twist, England's goalkicker was poised to make his comeback from surgery to his left ankle when a training session at Saracens last Wednesday ended with him stepping on someone's foot and rolling his right ankle.

"Owen is out of the Six Nations. It's a massive blow for him personally and for the team it's a blow," Jones said at the official Championship launch.

"But it's obviously an opportunity for other guys to step up into leadership roles and for other players to play for that 12 jumper. We see it more as an opportunity.

"In today's rugby, having your best team on the field is a rare occurrence. We're pretty used to it. There's an opportunity there to build a bit more leadership depth."

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