Owen Farrell has been ruled out of the third Test of England’s tour of New Zealand having pulled up with knee ligament damage.

The news, which came just before England kicked off against the Canterbury Crusaders, arrived with updates on the fitness of other midfield doubts Danny Care, Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell. The two centres took full parts in training whilst the scrum-half is being rated as ‘50-50’.

With Freddie Burns certain to start the Test in Hamilton, it is a race to see which of Danny Cipriani and Stephen Myler is to get the nod  to sit on the bench on Saturday, with the team announcement due on Wednesday evening, BST.

With Lee Dickson and Richard Wigglesworth set for their first action of the tour in this mid-week fixture, there will be intense interest in which of them performs well, in case Care cannot recover from the shoulder injury which kept him out of England’s first Test in Auckland, which they lost 20-15.

The wait is still on to see which outside centre the All Blacks opt for, with both Ryan Crotty and Malakai Fekitoa in the running to replace Conrad Smith who is out of the third Test with a broken bone in his hand.