Rugby League: Britain bring Farrell's future forward: Wigan youngster in fitness fight for first international cap

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The Independent Online
WIGAN'S Andrew Farrell is in line to become the third- youngest Great Britain player ever, provided he can prove that he has recovered from a shoulder injury.

Farrell, who has graduated from the Great Britain Academy side to the Under-21s this season, is 18 years and five months old. Only Shaun Edwards and Paul Newlove, both of whom will play alongside Farrell at Headingley this Saturday, were younger when they won their first caps.

Farrell, a 6ft 4in, 17-stone second-rower who has the natural talent to be Britain's most dominant forward for decades, replaces Hull's Steve McNamara and is the only change to the squad that clinched the series against New Zealand at Wigan last Saturday.

He has been earmarked by the Great Britain coach, Malcolm Reilly, to start the match, even though his club coach, John Dorahy, is not convinced that he will be fit. The player, though, is confident that he will have recovered.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Dorahy is to seek clarification from Edwards and Martin Offiah over why they missed Wigan's 46-0 defeat at Castleford on Sunday, the day after they played in the second Test.

Both pulled out of the trip after the Test and Dorahy, who says he is unaware of any specific injury, is quietly fuming, especially as he believes Edwards hinted at his intention in a local newspaper column last week. Wigan, not surprisingly after their calamity at Castleford, have postponed their league match against Sheffield Eagles next Sunday.

They begin their defence of the Regal Trophy with a journey to Second Division Whitehaven on 14 November. Yesterday's second-round draw kept most First Division sides apart, with the tie between Hull KR and Castleford, and the televised meeting between Salford and Leeds on 13 November the only exceptions.

Leigh, bottom of the First Division, will face the Second Division leaders, Huddersfield, without their captain, Tim Street, who was sold to Hull last night for around pounds 80,000.

Henry Paul, the captain of the recent Junior Kiwi tour, has been added to the full New Zealand squad to replace Robert Piva, who has fractured an eye socket. Paul is one of four substitutes in the Kiwis' last club match, at Widnes tonight.

GREAT BRITAIN SQUAD (Third Test v New Zealand, Headingley, Saturday): Backs: G Connolly (Wigan), J Davies (Warrington), J Devereux (Widnes), S Edwards (Wigan), D Fox (Bradford Northern), P Newlove (Bradford Northern), M Offiah (Wigan), D Powell (Sheffield Eagles), G Schofield (Leeds), A Tait (Leeds). Forwards: P Clarke (Wigan), R Eyres (Leeds), K Fairbank (Bradford Northern), A Farrell (Wigan), K Harrison (Halifax), L Jackson (Sheffield Eagles), M Jackson (Halifax), C Joynt (St Helens), S Nickle (St Helens).

REGAL TROPHY Second-round draw: Widnes v Doncaster; Rochdale Hornets v Bramley; Batley v Sheffield Eagles; Halifax v Keighley Cougars; Warrington v Hunslet; Salford v Leeds; Hull KR v Castleford; Swinton v Hull; Dewsbury v St Helens; Highfield v Oldham; Ryedale-York v Workington Town; Whitehaven v Wigan; London Crusaders v Featherstone Rovers; Barrow v Bradford Northern; Carlisle v Wakefield Trinity; Leigh v Huddersfield.

Ties to be played 13-14 November.

Philosophical Tamati, page 38

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