Saracens told to play Farrell in role that fits England

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Andy Robinson, the England head coach, was today hoping to bring the embarrassing Andy Farrell issue to a head by pressing Saracens to play the former rugby league man in a position that suits the world champions. The club are running Farrell at blind-side flanker, a position unique to the union game, rather than inside centre, which was the basis of Twickenham's move to buy him out of the sport in which he made his name.

Farrell's place in England's elite player squad is the subject of increasing criticism, and Robinson wants to smooth the situation by persuading Alan Gaffney, the Saracens director of rugby, to facilitate a change of role. England are convinced Farrell could justify his £500,000 cross-code move as a midfield distributor, but are operating to a tight deadline ahead of next year's World Cup.

Saracens may not play ball, which will leave Robinson fuming. If so, he will at least take some pleasure from the fact that Wasps are due to field Lawrence Dallaglio and Phil Vickery, two of England's World Cup-winning pack, in this weekend's EDF Energy Cup game with London Irish.

Dallaglio is fit after having a metal plate removed from a ravaged ankle, while Vickery is on the brink of a debut for Wasps after a third bout of back surgery.