Farrell ready for action

Saracens boss Alan Gaffney believes Andy Farrell is raring to go when the England centre resumes Guinness Premiership duty against champions Sale Sharks on Sunday. [more]

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Saracens boss Alan Gaffney believes Andy Farrell is raring to go when the England centre resumes Guinness Premiership duty against champions Sale Sharks on Sunday.

Farrell has endured a difficult week after England’s record 43-13 RBS 6 Nations defeat at the hands of a rampant Ireland side in Dublin last Saturday.

Former England stars Will Carling and Jeremy Guscott were among those who questioned Farrell’s continued place in the Test team, but many – Gaffney included – felt the criticism was unjustified.

Farrell has been included in a 28-man England training squad to prepare for the Twickenham appointment with Six Nations favourites France on Sunday week, with head coach Brian Ashton set to announce his line-up next Tuesday morning.

Gaffney said: "Andy is looking forward to playing this weekend.

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"He has trained well this week, and with a real buzz as has the rest of the squad."

Saracens, beaten just once in the Premiership since late November, should continue their title play-off push by defeating a Sale side again shorn of key players through injury.

Although centre Elvis Seveali’i and prop Andrew Sheridan return to the starting line-up, England pair Jason Robinson (neck) and Magnus Lund (concussion) are sidelined, while long-term absentees Charlie Hodgson and Jason White are in America for further rehabilitation on knee problems.

But Gaffney added: "Sale are a very good side, and although they have injury problems, they are starting to get a number of those players back. They have quality throughout their squad."

Wing Tevita Vaikona, prop Kevin Yates and former Ireland hooker Shane Byrne all gain call-ups for Saracens, with Sale’s league away form this term – six defeats from eight starts – suggesting a probable home win.

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