Rugby Union: Saracens start search as Lynagh bows out

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The Independent Online
Saracens today began the task of replacing their prolific kicking machine, Michael Lynagh, with a little help from the record-breaking Wallaby stand-off himself.

Nigel Wray, the London club's owner, said Sarries would search "far and wide" for a replacement after Lynagh, the world's top international scorer with 911 points in 72 Tests for Australia, confirmed yesterday he will retire at the end of the season.

"We'll be losing a lot of hairs trying to find a replacement," confirmed Wray. "It's likely to be a very big name but we will be consulting Michael for his views. No one knows more about stand-offs than he does."

At 34, Lynagh insisted there will be no comebacks, but is contemplating a coaching role in the future at Saracens. "If I got asked to coach I would gladly accept but it is not on my agenda at the moment," he said.

The Northampton centre Jonathan Bell will miss the start of Ireland's Five Nations' campaign. He damaged medial ligaments after coming on as a replacement at Harlequins.

George Graham has withdrawn from the Scotland party to face Italy in Treviso on Saturday because of a hamstring injury. He has been replaced by Bath's David Hilton with Peter Wright, of West of Scotland, coming in as cover.

Steve Ojomoh will get his first full outing with his new club, Gloucester, in the Tetley's Bitter Cup match at Northampton on Saturday.

Ojomoh, who moved to Kingsholm from Bath on New Year's Day, is named in the starting line-up at No 8 this weekend. His inclusion is one of several changes made by Gloucester from the side which narrowly defeated Bristol.

Flanker Nathan Carter is out with a shoulder injury so Pete Glanville moves to cover while Simon Devereux shifts from No 8 to the blind side to accommodate Ojomoh. In the second row, Dave Sims is recalled and replaces Mark Cornwell while, up front, the prop Tony Windo drops out with a rib cartilage strain and Adey Powles takes his place at tight head. Behind the pack, 19-year-old winger Rob Jewell plays on the right wing in place of Brian Johnson, who is cup-tied.