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Owen Farrell is preparing for his first match with Saracens since taking a break from playing for England.

Saracens will kick off their Champions Cup campaign on Saturday, marking Owen Farrell’s return to the team after his retirement from Test rugby was revealed. This will be his first match since the announcement.

The leader of the English team will not be participating in the Six Nations tournament later this season. He has decided to step away from international play in order to focus on his and his family’s mental health. Additionally, he was unable to play in Saracens’ defeat against Northampton due to a knee injury.

Saracens’ director of rugby, Mark McCall, has announced that the team’s 32-year-old fly-half will be playing against the top South African team, the Bulls, in their upcoming match in Pretoria. McCall stated that the player is fully available and has been training for the past two days. He also mentioned that the player has been enjoying spending time with his fellow teammates and that the trip provides a nice break from the cold British weather.

“I am unsure of the number of European Cup games he has participated in, but it is likely that he and Alex Goode have played in more than any other members of the club. He serves as our captain and leader, earning respect from all within the club. Having him on the field is a significant advantage, and his presence in team meetings and discussions is invaluable. We are fortunate to have him on our team.”

The team that has won the European championship the most among English clubs is the three-time winner. However, in their most recent participation, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by the eventual champions, La Rochelle. Currently, they will face the Bulls, who are ranked third in the United Rugby Championship and have won five out of seven games this season.

McCall commented that he has been thoroughly impressed by their recent performances, particularly in their home games. They have shown strength in all aspects of their game. Round one against the Bulls will be a tough match, especially given their current form, but it is a challenge that typically brings out the best in our team.

“We have maintained a positive partnership with this competition for an extended period of time. The atmosphere on the training field has been excellent since our arrival.”

On Sunday, Manu Tuilagi may play in his first game since the Rugby World Cup for Sale in their European opener against Stade Français. Sale’s director of rugby, Alex Sanderson, has stated that the strong English center is eligible to participate in the Champions Cup match at AJ Bell Stadium.

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Tuilagi, who has been out with a hand injury, last played when England beat Argentina in the World Cup bronze-medal match in Paris almost six weeks ago.

Source: theguardian.com