Rugby Union: Penaud going back to France

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The Independent Online
THE FORMER French Test stand-off Alain Penaud is quitting Saracens two years early for family reasons. Penaud's wife has not been able to settle in England and the family are returning to France at the end of this season. The 29-year-old joined the club to replace the Australian Michael Lynagh this season. But the association has not been successful with Saracens outside the European qualifying zone and Penaud has been affected by frequent injuries.

"I would like to thank all the Saracens players and coaches for making me so welcome," said the Frenchman with 30 caps. "I am disappointed that I am unable to continue to play for Saracens but I must listen to my wife and young son Damon. I am determined to help Saracens qualify for Europe, then perhaps I can enjoy playing against them when I am back in France."

Saracens' rugby director, Mark Evans, said: "We are disappointed to lose Alain but fully understand that he must put his family before everything else."

The Harlequins lock Gareth Llewellyn has been drafted into the Wales squad for next month's tour of Argentina. Llewellyn, Wales' most capped forward with 62 Test match appearances, joins the 37-man squad because the Pontypridd lock Ian Gough has a broken arm that will require 10 weeks' recovery time. Llewellyn, 30, last played for Wales 14 months ago when they crashed to a record 60-26 defeat against England at Twickenham.

Wales leave for South America on 23 May, the three week-trip featuring two Test match appointments with Argentina in Buenos Aires. Wales have also asked the centre Jason Jones-Hughes, one of Australia's best young players, to represent them at the World Cup.

Jones-Hughes said yesterday he had been asked by the Wales coach, Graham Henry, to play for the host country. He is eligible to play for Wales because his father, Glynne, is Welsh. "Big changes are happening in Welsh rugby and the opportunity is very exciting." Jones-Hughes said. "Graham initially approached me about joining Cardiff and the offer to play for Wales came only recently. My first priority is still to play for the Wallabies but I have to keep my options open."

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