England captain Owen Farrell has decided to take a break from international rugby in order to "prioritise his family's mental well-being".

Farrell, 32, will therefore miss the Six Nations which begins next February but he'll remain available to play for domestic side Saracens. A statement from the club confirmed the news, with England manager Steve Borthwick offering his full support.

Borthwick said: "Everyone at England Rugby is fully behind Owen's decision. Since making his debut, he has been an integral part of the England set up for over a decade and the demands on elite athletes are extremely challenging. He is an exemplary player, captain and leader and always gives his all for his country.

"It is with typical courage that Owen has made this decision to open up in this manner. Together with all of us at England Rugby, I will do everything I can to ensure that he has the support he requires going forward."

The statement from Saracens read: "Owen Farrell has decided to take a break from international rugby in order to prioritise his and his family's mental well-being. This means he will not be available for selection for the 2024 Six Nations. He will continue to play for Saracens and captain the club. As always, Owen will have the full support of everyone at the club."

The Wigan-born fly-half led England during the recent World Cup in France, as Borthwick's rejuvenated side reached the semi-finals and came away with a bronze medal after beating Argentina in October's third-place play-off. Farrell was integral to England's surprise deep run, having been criticised like many of his team-mates amid England's poor form ahead of the tournament.

The 32-year-old's absence when England's Six Nations campaign begins in Italy on February 3 will be a significant one. Borthwick is tasked with ushering in a new era for the Red Roses after six experienced players retired following the World Cup. Ben Youngs, Jonny May, Dan Cole, Danny Care, Joe Marler and Courtney Lawes have all played their final Test for England.

Owen Farrell will continue to captain Saracens (
David Rogers/Getty Images)

Get involved! Can England win the Six Nations without Owen Farrell? Join the debate in the comments section.

They face Italy in Rome to kick-off their Six Nations run before hosting Wales at Twickenham a week later. A trip to Scotland and a home clash with holders Ireland, managed by Farrell's dad, Andy, follows before finishing off in Paris against France.

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