Farrell poised for Saracens debut

Saracens have confirmed there is "a very strong chance" of Andy Farrell making his long-awaited rugby union debut on Monday. [more]

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Saracens have confirmed there is "a very strong chance" of Andy Farrell making his long-awaited rugby union debut on Monday.

The former Great Britain and Wigan rugby league skipper signed for Saracens 18 months ago, but repeated injury setbacks put his playing career into cold storage.

Despite his lack of action in the 15-man code, England head coach Andy Robinson last month named Farrell among the elite player squad for this season’s Test matches.

If 31-year-old Farrell’s debut goes according to plan for Saracens’ Guinness A League side against Harlequins at Imber Court, Esher, he could make his Premiership debut against Newcastle next Sunday.

"There is a very strong chance that Andy will play," said Saracens rugby director Alan Gaffney, following his team’s error-strewn 13-13 draw with Bristol.

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"All things being equal, he will play. We need to see how he adapts after being out of physical contact on the pitch for the past 16 months or so."

Gaffney’s more pressing concern was a poor Saracens performance which left them still seeking an opening win two rounds into the new league campaign.

Late drop-goals from Dan Scarbrough and Glen Jackson edged Saracens 13-8 ahead, but Bristol scrum-half Shaun Perry touched down with just 35 seconds of injury time left before Jason Strange sent his last-kick touchline conversion attempt drifting wide.

Had Bristol, among only three teams with unbeaten records still intact this term, triumphed, they would have overtaken west country neighbours Gloucester as Premiership leaders.

"I am extremely disappointed we did not win," added Gaffney.

"We weren’t accurate in the first half and did not achieve anything like the game-plan we had set out.

"We conceded 10 penalties in the first half against Wasps last weekend, and I don’t know how many we conceded today.

"We have got to take a long, hard look at ourselves and work out why we are as indisciplined as we are.

"It is possibly a confidence thing. We are training particularly well, and the players are confident when they go out on the pitch, but we are not as smart or as cute as we should be."

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