It appears the dream of seeing England rugby union star Owen Farrell run out for his hometown club Wigan in Super League will remain just that.
Farrell, 31, has never played professionally in the 13-man code after moving down south as a young teenager when his father Andy left Wigan to join Saracens.
He has enjoyed a fine career in rugby union, scoring more than 1,000 points in more than 100 tests for England, winning three Six Nations titles, six Aviva Premierships and three European Cups.
As he heads towards the twilight of his playing days, links to a fairytale move to Wigan to finish his career appear on a regular basis.
But The Rugby Paper appears to have thrown cold water over the chance of that happening.
It comes following Farrell’s man of the match performance in securing a Premiership title for Saracens against Sale Sharks.
Owen Farrell playing ‘best rugby of his life’
Farrell’s display was hailed as an ‘absolute masterclass of game management and sheer brilliance’ by Planet Rugby at the end of what has been ‘probably his best campaign’ in rugby union ahead of this year’s World Cup.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said he was playing the best rugby of his life and that he has taken his leadership to a whole new level.
McCall said: “If you spent a week at our training ground, you wouldn’t believe just how influential he is, how clear he is with the playing group, how emotive he is, what standards he sets, how supportive he is to team-mates young and old.
“He’s playing the best rugby of his life at the moment, but his leadership has gone to a whole new level.”
There had been increased talk of a move for Farrell to Wigan over the off-season, when one eagle-eyed fan spotted that he had recently set up ‘Ancient and Loyal Limited’ and ‘A&L Ventures Ltd’ on Companies House.
He unsurprisingly has spoken positively about rugby league, only fuelling that speculation.
Farrell himself said recently: “I always wonder if I could do it, if I’d be any good. I love the game, I love watching Wigan.”
Pouring cold water on the rumours
Although Wigan are known not to comment publicly on rumours, the rugby union publication ran with the story at the weekend that the dream return for Farrell isn’t on the horizon.
The Rugby Paper reported: “Wigan Warriors have taken steps to create distance between themselves and the rumoured big-money cross-code move to bring England captain Owen Farrell back to his hometown club.
“Former Wigan Warriors player Martin Gleeson recently stirred up speculation when he discussed a potential switch between codes with Farrell during his time as part of Eddie Jones’s coaching staff.”
The journalist reporting the Farrell talk, Neil Fissler, dubbed rugby league’s latest round ‘Tragic Weekend’ as the 12 Super League clubs headed to St James’ Park in Newcastle.
Although Premiership rugby union is suffering from somewhat of a crisis, with the collapse of Wasps and Worcester Warriors during the season now added to by the demise of London Irish, the strength of the international game makes it difficult to envisage any top stars making a code switch.
Prior to the advent of professionalism (officially) in the 15-man game, players would regularly switch from rugby union to rugby league to increase their earning potential.