Farrell back in action

Saracens will look for an impressive performance from Andy Farrell at Gloucester tonight as the former rugby league star builds up his fitness for the 15-man game. [more]

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Saracens will look for an impressive performance from Andy Farrell at Gloucester tonight as the former rugby league star builds up his fitness for the 15-man game.

The 31-year-old made a try-scoring debut for the Saracens reserve team a fortnight ago and has since made his Guinness Premiership debut off the bench against Newcastle.

However director of rugby Alan Gaffney opted to hold Farrell back in Saracens’ latest match against Sale, keeping him on the bench with a view to fielding the former Wigan captain in the Guinness A League tonight, and potentially in another match before the weekend.

Despite signing last year, injuries have meant Farrell is yet to make an impact in the union code and Saracens want him to be fully ready before thrusting the flanker-cum-centre in from the start in the Premiership.

Gaffney said: "Andy will get a full game on Monday night."
Saracens were beaten 34-26 at Sale on Friday, with Gaffney adding: "We’ll probably also get a full game later in the week so it will be a hard schedule for him."

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Farrell will face second-string opponents with every incentive to impress Gloucester boss Dean Ryan, whose first team have made an unbeaten start to the Premiership season.

However there will surely be no displacing Andy Hazell who is ready to battle every inch of the way for World Cup recognition next year and remove his tag as England’s forgotten flanker.

The Gloucester openside faces a tough task to revive an international career which has stalled since England’s final 2005 RBS 6 Nations Championship game against Scotland.

He missed out on a place in the 41-man elite player squad announced by head coach Andy Robinson last month, when Lewis Moody, Pat Sanderson, Joe Worsley, Magnus Lund and Michael Lipman were selected ahead of him.

But six-times-capped Hazell could force Robinson to rethink, such has been his blistering form for Gloucester this term.

The 28-year-old touched down in the second half of Saturday’s 28-7 win over Northampton at Kingsholm and, when asked about England opportunities, said: "I am just going to enjoy playing for Gloucester, and if anything else comes, I will be happy."

He added: "I would love to go to the World Cup, but all I can do is keep doing my job here."

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