Saracens centre Andy Farrell has been ruled out for up to eight weeks after suffering a fracture and dislocation of his thumb during Friday’s pre-season win over Western Force.
Farrell’s injury will be a substantial blow to new coach Eddie Jones, particularly as the 33-year-old dual-code international has been named the club’s co-captain alongside England skipper Steve Borthwick.
"It’s totally frustrating, especially after flogging yourself for eight weeks in pre-season and then just when you start to look forward to the games, this happens," said the former rugby league great.
"Things were going really well. I played out in Bayonne in a friendly the week before, felt in great shape and was looking forward to getting on the field against Western Force.
“I’d only been on a few minutes when I went in for a cover tackle and took the impact on my thumb – as soon as it happened I knew I was in a bit of trouble.
"That certainly wasn’t the plan but as frustrated as I am, you won’t find me sitting in the corner and sulking.
"I can still train and I shall use this time to get fitter and stronger and turn this time into an advantage.
“I’ll be arranging my training around the first team to make sure I’m at all the sessions and doing whatever I can to continue to help pushing the team in the right direction, maintaining the progress we have shown in pre-season and getting us ready to face Harlequins on the opening day of the season."