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Farrell cleared for England after false-positive virus test

November 7, 2021 GMT

LONDON (AP) — England captain Owen Farrell was cleared to face Australia next weekend after his COVID-19 case was confirmed as a false-positive on Sunday.

Farrell missed the 69-3 rout of Tonga at Twickenham on Saturday after being forced to isolate because of the result of a test taken on Thursday.

But he will rejoin the squad after a review of the sample revealed he does not have the coronavirus. NHS test and trace on Sunday gave him the green light to leave quarantine, the English Rugby Football Union said.

Frustratingly for England, the laboratory that reviewed the test determined on Saturday morning before the Tonga game that it was a false-positive, yet Farrell was told only on Sunday.

Farrell’s availability to play the Wallabies next Saturday gives coach Eddie Jones a hard decision about who to pick in his midfield.

Jones originally wanted to play newcomer Marcus Smith and Farrell at 10-12 against Tonga, but Smith was limited in training and made to come off the bench. He impressed, as did the midfield of Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade.

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