Farrell set for Saracens debut from the bench

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The Independent Online

Saracens confirmed yesterday that Andy Farrell, their rugby league recruit, would finally make his Premiership debut on Sunday. Farrell has been named as one of the seven replacements for the match against Newcastle at Vicarage Road.

Last night the former Great Britain and Wigan captain said: "I'm very excited and chuffed to bits, really. To be named on the bench after only the one game is great and although you don't really know how long you may get as a replacement, if any time at all, I'll just have to look to take it as it comes and keep progressing every game.

"This is a game I can look forward to whereas on Monday night I was a little apprehensive about what might happen. Now I've got that out of the way I can really concentrate on playing. So, although Sunday could be my full debut, Monday was the game that was really important for me to get through."

Farrell added: "One of the best things about training today was being in the team meeting, talking about how we were going to play and looking at Newcastle. Even though I've been involved in those meetings for the past year, it hasn't meant that much to me because I've not been involved. Now it means everything and it's nice to get that nervous buzz going again in the build-up to a match."

Alan Gaffney, the Saracens director of rugby, explained: "We were delighted at the way Andy came through the game on Monday night and the impact he had on the game. He did a number of things very well despite it being his first action for a long time. He's trained very hard this week and, as a result, deserves a place on the bench."

Gloucester have recalled their fly-half Brad Davies from a loan spell with Worcester because their French fly-half Ludovic Mercier injured a knee during an A League match on Monday.

Newcastle now estimate that they will be without the England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson for five or six weeks as he recovers from medial ligament damage to a knee. Rather than look for temporary cover for their points machine, however, the Falcons management have decided to stick with Toby Flood, who has been named in the team for the Saracens match.

Cardiff Blues confirmed yesterday that their Wales international flanker, Robin Sowden-Taylor, suffered a fracture dislocation of his right ankle against Ospreys on Wednesday. The injury will keep him out of action for up to eight months and means that he is almost certain to miss the rest of the season.

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