England coach Andy Robinson has expressed his delight that a deal has been completed to take Wigan and Great Britain rugby league captain Andrew Farrell to rugby union.
With the help of the Rugby Football Union, the 29-year-old, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, has joined Premiership club Saracens and Robinson revealed he will train with the England Churchill Cup squad this summer.
Robinson said: "I'd like to thank Wigan, Saracens and the RFU for their support during the process of signing Andrew Farrell.
"He is a player I have admired for some considerable time, and I first approached (RFU chief executive) Francis Baron about my wish to ask Andrew to change codes before Christmas.
"Andrew will train with the England squad in preparation for the Churchill Cup to be held in Canada in June 2005.
"Andrew will further strengthen an England squad I believe will progress and develop as we approach the Rugby World Cup, and I want Andrew to be part of that development."
Saracens chief executive Mark Sinderberry is also happy to have recruited a player he believes will strengthen his club.
He said: "We've put in a series of building blocks over the last 12 months towards building continuity and sustainable success, and Andrew has a very big role to play in those plans.
"He is an outstanding player, and we are delighted he has signed with us for the next three years."
There were also reports that the RFU had been interested in signing Farrell's Wigan team-mate Kris Radlinski, but Baron insists the Lions captain was always their only target.
He said: "On behalf of the RFU, I'm delighted that the deal has been reached with Andrew and Wigan Warriors. Andrew is an outstanding player who has been a superb ambassador for rugby league on and off the field, and we believe he will do the same in rugby union.
"Wigan and Saracens have been very co-operative, and I'd like to thank them for all their help over the last few weeks. Saracens were one of a number of clubs interested in signing Andrew - they were very much his first choice.
"I'd like to repeat that Andrew Farrell was the only rugby league player we were looking at, and we will continue to do everything we can to support Andy Robinson in developing the England squad towards 2007."
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