The signing of Andy Farrell could be the last of its kind after the Rugby Football Union vowed to take a more "hard-nosed" approach to cross-code recruitment in the future.

Farrell was originally signed from Wigan 19 months ago - in a deal jointly funded between Saracens and the RFU - as a potential inside centre and on the basis he was a "great player".

But after recovering from injuries and following a change in management at Saracens, Farrell is being played at blind-side flanker, a position that does not exist in rugby league.

Saracens director of rugby Alan Gaffney says he has the support of England's Andy Robinson, though members of the national coaching staff are known to see Farrell as an inside centre. Former Test prop and Club England member Jeff Probyn this week described Farrell's recruitment as "an act of desperation".

The RFU defended fiercely their decision to sign Farrell but conceded they have learned some important lessons. Chief executive Francis Baron said: "We have become much more selective and more business-like about our policy of investing in code-switchers.

"We have got to be clearer as to how we see the role of the player, where he is going to play, where he is going to fit into the England set-up.

"Some of the players who have switched codes have been recruited on the basis they are great players in league and we will find somewhere for them to play in union.

"We have learned we need to be a lot clearer in our analysis up front as to where the player in question would best fit into union. We (the RFU management board) would want to see a degree of certainty that all those issues have been thought through."