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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 17:36 GMT
Saracens sign league star Farrell
Andy Farrell
Great Britain and Wigan rugby league star Andy Farrell has finally sealed his code switch and joined rugby union Zurich Premiership outfit Saracens.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU), which has identified Farrell as a potential England player, agreed a deal with Super League side Wigan early in March.

They have since been in talks to place the 29-year-old with a union club.

Farrell is set to be unveiled at a news conference at Sarries' Vicarage Road ground on Thursday.

Farrell, who turns 30 in May, has played as a forward and goalkicker in league.

England and Saracens flanker Richard Hill told BBC Radio Five Live he believes Farrell has the ability to convert to the 15-man code.

"I'm not really sure what plans Saracens and England have in terms of playing position," Hill admitted.

"All I really know at the moment is what a great rugby league player he is and the skills he has.

"I'm not worried about his age. There is certainly time to convert him. It is just a case of knuckling down and getting on with some hard work.

"I'm sure he knows that. It's obviously not a decision he has made lightly."

Farrell, an ever-present in the Great Britain league side since 1993, has become one of the sport's most decorated players.

He has played with Wigan his entire league career, winning the Challenge Cup in 1993 and Super League in 1998.

In 1996 he became the youngest-ever captain of the British rugby league team at the age of 21 years, four months.

And in 2004 he won the rare double of the Golden Boot, awarded to the world's leading player, and Man of Steel, which is awarded to the best player in the British Super League.

At the start of 2005 he was awarded an OBE in recognition of his services to the 13-man code but has since been sidelined after undergoing knee surgery.

Farrell, whose salary will be funded jointly by the RFU and Saracens, is the latest player to switch from the 13-man code to union.

Other high profile switches include Jason Robinson and Henry Paul for England and Mat Rogers, Lote Tuqiri and Wendell Sailor for Australia.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Sport's Keith York


Interview: Saracens' Andy Farrell


Interview: Saracens flanker Richard Hill


Interview: England head coach Andy Robinson




SEE ALSO
Farrell will need time - Johnson
05 Mar 05 |  English
Tigers wary of Farrell 'gamble'
24 Feb 05 |  Rugby League
Union's dream league shopping list
18 Feb 05 |  Rugby League
Farrell move may be smart - Noble
13 Feb 05 |  Rugby League
Farrell the union hero?
13 Feb 05 |  Super League
Classy Farrell would be a success
11 Feb 05 |  Rugby League
Farrell in talks over code switch
11 Feb 05 |  Rugby League
Farrell sidelined for four months
19 Jan 05 |  Rugby League


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