Rugby-England captain Farrell misses training after positive COVID test

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International Test - British and Irish Lions v Japan

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - England captain Owen Farrell has tested positive for COVID-19, the Rugby Football Union said on Friday, making him likely to miss Saturday's Twickenham test against Tonga.

The RFU said Farrell would miss Friday's training after returning a positive PCR test and would remain in isolation and would be lateral flow and PCR tested again on Friday. All other player and staff PCR test results received are negative.

Farrell had been due to start at flyhalf but his likely absence means a probable start for Marcus Smith, who was named among the replacements after missing parts of training this week with a leg injury.

Farrell was set to win his 100th test cap - his 94th for England alongside six tests for the British & Irish Lions - in what would have been only his fourth start at flyhalf in his last 16 England games.

Coach Eddie Jones had initially planned to use him at inside centre but after Smith, who made his debut in the summer at the end of a fantastic season for Premiership champions Harlequins, was unable to train fully, he said: "When you don't train, it's hard to run the team around the paddock."

Northampton's George Furbank, who plays fullback and flyhalf, is already on the bench for the Tonga match and would provide cover for the number 10 position should Smith be elevated to the starting team.

Jones had delayed naming his team on Thursday after what was reported by the RFU as a positive test for an unnamed staff member.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Toby Davis)

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