Wigan and Great Britain captain Andy Farrell is poised for a dramatic switch to rugby union - a move that could soon see the Rugby League star lining up for England in the RBS 6 Nations.
The 29-year-old loose forward, a rugby league icon who has been an ever-present with Great Britain for the last 15 years, is in talks with the Rugby Football Union, a Twickenham spokesman has confirmed.
Farrell, who has two years left to run on his Wigan contract, has been targeted to become an England player in time for the 2007 World Cup in France.
And, even though he will be 32 by then, he is thought to be tempted by the challenge.
The RFU and Wigan issued a joint statement confirming discussions are ongoing and dismissing earlier rumours that Farrell's Wigan team-mate Kris Radlinski was also a target.
The statement said: "The Rugby Football Union and Wigan can confirm that discussions are taking place regarding the possible signing of Andrew Farrell.
"Although the talks have not been concluded and an agreement has not been reached, discussions are continuing and all parties feel it is now the appropriate time to respond to the speculation surrounding them.
"The RFU and Wigan can confirm that Andrew Farrell is the only player under discussion.
"Any agreement will be subject to the approval of the two boards, Andrew Farrell, Premier Rugby Ltd and a Zurich Premiership club to contract the player with the RFU.
"The Wigan club are currently discussing the matter with Andrew Farrell and no time frame can be given for any talks to be concluded."
If the move comes off, Farrell would arguably be a bigger prize for union than his former Wigan team-mate Jason Robinson, the current England captain who made the switch at the end of the 2000 season.
But he is thought unlikely to join Robinson at Sale Sharks, who today described links with them as "unfounded nonsense", and Saracens are thought to be a more likely destination.
Farrell has led his country a record 29 times and amassed more than 4,000 points in his career for Wigan and Great Britain.
Although he has never played union, England are thought to have been impressed by his leadership qualities and see him as the man to fill the void following the retirement of Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.