Farrell finally steps up to make first senior start for Saracens

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The Independent Online

The long awaited day is close at hand. Saracens' rugby league convert Andy Farrell will make his first start for the club tomorrow in the EDF Energy Cup at London Irish.

Farrell features in the back row alongside Paul Gustard and Ben Russell after two Guinness A League appearances and a 16-minute substitute's role against Premiership rivals Newcastle.

The former Great Britain and Wigan rugby league star was released from training with England's elite squad this week in order to concentrate on developing his club career.

"Andy had a good 80 minutes in the A League at Gloucester on Monday night," the Saracens rugby director Alan Gaffney said. "It was always the plan we had in mind for him to look to start this weekend, and this is the next step for him."

Starting has been something of a problem for Gavin Henson, of Wales and Ospreys, this season. He starts matches but has not been firing, according to the former Wales international Jonathan Davies. So on tonight's EDF Energy Cup match against Gloucester in Swansea Davies said: "Gavin needs to start taking games by the scruff of the neck. Because if he doesn't play now and if Ospreys don't get results in the EDF Energy Cup or the Heineken Cup, he won't be around at the business end of the season, after the Six Nations when World Cup selection will be an issue."

Gloucester will be captained by Jake Boer against Ospreys. He is joined in the back row by Adam Balding, making his first start of the season, and Luke Narraway.

Newcastle travel to Sale in the other EDF tie of the night where Sean Tomes, son of former Scotland lock Alan, makes his Falcons debut in the second row.