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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March, 2005, 08:58 GMT
Classy Farrell will be a success

By Jonathan Davies
Former dual-code international

Andy Farrell on the charge for Great Britain rugby league team against Australia

I have no doubt Andy Farrell will be a success in rugby union because he is a great player.

He is a very big, talented guy with wonderful handling skills and he is a superb footballer.

I think he could play second row in rugby union but I assume they are buying him for his mobility, passing and ball-carrying.

He would be there to replace someone like Lawrence Dallaglio and I think he would play as a ball-carrying number eight.

He is good enough to go in the centres but at international level, although he is a great player, I think he would struggle for pace.

He has such a complete game that his only difficulty will be adjusting to rugby union's idiosyncrasies.

The two codes are so different. People might think it is an easy transition, but it is not and he would take time to adjust.

Scrummages, rucks and mauls are very technical areas - some of the players who have played union all their lives are still struggling with the laws!

I played with Andy in his first rugby league Test when he was 18 and he was a special player

Learning the laws of the game would be the biggest adjustment he would have to make and it would take time.

The only forward who I can think of who started his career in league and then made the move to union is Brad Thorn.

He moved from the Brisbane Broncos and made it into the New Zealand side, before going back to the Broncos.

I don't think there are any forwards in the northern hemisphere who have made the switch at the highest level.

I think Andy will be more of an asset than Thorn because he will bring his football skills.

Andy is a great passer, a tremendous kicker and he is in that Dallaglio mould - dynamic with the ball in hand as well.

Andy Farrell after winning the Stones Bitter Premiership in 1997
Farrell has won just about everything in rugby league

The World Cup is a massive lure and I would think it is the reason he is thinking of moving across.

Rugby league is a fantastic game. Week in week out the intensity and the atmosphere at club level may be more enjoyable than the equivalent in rugby union.

But, as a rugby player, you want to be playing in the biggest events.

Rugby union has more media attention and the World Cup is a massive occasion.

I suppose Andy has done everything and he would like a last challenge in his career. What better than maybe having the opportunity to defend a World Cup in France in 2007?

I played with Andy in his first rugby league Test when he was 18 and he was a special player.

With a bit of luck with injuries, I am sure he could push his case to be in the England side for the next World Cup.

He will be a massive loss for rugby league.

He has been there, he has won everything in the game and people maybe take him for granted. You don't appreciate how good someone is until they have gone.




SEE ALSO
All-time great set for new dawn
24 Mar 05 |  Rugby League
Union's dream league shopping list
24 Mar 05 |  Rugby League
Farrell will need time - Johnson
05 Mar 05 |  English
Thorn set for league return
23 Aug 04 |  Lions in NZ


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