Rugby Union: Leonard offer in writing

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The Independent Online
Saracens have stepped up their campaign to secure Jason Leonard's return to the club by putting an offer in writing to Harlequins.

The England prop's request to leave Quins last week was turned down and yesterday Mike Smith, Saracens chief executive, put his club's interest on a formal footing. "It is now up to them to come back to me and name their price," he said.

Leonard, who told Quins of his intentions on returning from the successful Lions tour to South Africa, has two years of his contract to run.

Three players did join Saracens yesterday, the New Zealander Brendon Daniel, a 19-year-old wing from Bay of Plenty, and two Queensland players - scrum-half Bradley Free and centre Ryan Constable. All three players hold British passports.

Mark Regan, the Lions hooker, is set to leave Bristol and will join his new team-mates at Bath on 1 August for their first pre-season training session. The move comes after Bath increased their offer to buy out the remaining 10 months of Regan's contract. The offer is believed to be around pounds 100,000 and no longer includes a player exchange.

Newcastle have signed the Orrell wing, James Naylor, and offered full- time contracts to the England Under-21 pair, the hooker Richard Horton and the prop Dave Barnes - and to full- back Stuart Legge and scrum-half Chris Simpson-Daniels. Leaving Newcastle is the England A centre, Andy Blyth, who is poised to join Quins in a pounds 30,000 move.

West Hartlepool have landed the Western Samoan scrum-half, Tu Nu'uali'itia, and the Ireland Under 21 full-back, Emmett Farrell. The 23-year-old Wellington second row Russell Schrader, who holds a Dutch passport, has also joined the club. Highly rated in New Zealand, he stands 6ft 7in and weighs 16st.

Second Division Moseley have signed Leicester's 27-year-old back-row forward Bill Drake-Lee.

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