Carling set to fulfil dream by playing as Quins stand-off

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The Independent Online
Will Carling is hoping to make his debut at stand-off for Harlequins, the League leaders, at third-placed Northampton today, writes David Llewellyn. Paul Challinor, Quins' regular stand-off, suffered an elbow injury during England's midweek training and yesterday pulled out of the vital Courage First Division match.

Challinor will travel to Franklins Gardens in the hope the injury will have cleared up, but it does not look promising. That will leave the way open for Carling to fulfil a long-held wish to turn out at stand-off - provided he has recovered from an ankle injury which prevented him from taking part in the England training session. If Carling makes the switch, Peter Mensah will come in at centre.

Quins will also parade Robbie Paul on the left wing, while his brother, Henry, returns for Bath at the expense of Jeremy Guscott for their match at home to West Hartlepool.

There is an interesting family confrontation at Edge Hall Road where the Tuigamala brothers Va'aiga (Wasps) and Lua (Orrell) meet. Orrell also expect Frano Botica, who is being chased by Llanelli, to turn out for them, despite reports that he is still struggling to recover from a shoulder injury. Llanelli, meanwhile, have admitted that Botica cannot play for them at Pontypridd, despite agreeing a deal with Botica's rugby league club, Castleford.

Scott Gibbs has returned to Welsh union colours after his spell in rugby league with a place in a 21-strong squad for their trip to Rome to play Italy on 5 October.

Kevin Bowring, the Wales coach, has delayed announcing the side because of injuries picked up by several players during Wednesday's 40-33 defeat by France. Ieuan Evans and Nigel Davies are definitely out and there is a doubt about No 8 Steve Williams.

Gibbs, who has returned to play for Swansea this season, seems certain to take over from Nigel Davies in the centre alongside Leigh Davies although Dafydd James has also been included. The 25-year-old won 20 caps for Wales before switching to rugby league with St Helens.

WELSH SQUAD (v Italy, Rome, 5 Oct): W Proctor (Llanelli), S Hill (Cardiff), D James (Bridgend), G Thomas (Bridgend), L Davies (Cardiff), S Gibbs (Swansea), N Jenkins (Pontypridd), A Thomas (Swansea), R Howley (Cardiff), P John (Pontypridd), C Loader (Swansea), J Davies (Neath), S John (Llanelli), J Humphreys (Cardiff), B Williams (Neath), M Voyle (Llanelli), G Llewellyn (Harlequins), H Taylor (Cardiff), K Jones (Ebbw Vale), M Williams (Pontypridd), S Williams (Neath).

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