Saracensline up Sella and Lynagh

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The Independent Online

Saracens' dream of fielding a world class back-line moved a step nearer to reality last night when sources at the club confirmed they have had talks with the Australian fly-half Michael Lynagh. The north London First Division club are also at the head of the queue to win the signature of the French centre Philippe Sella.

Lynagh, who retired from international rugby after Australia's dramatic last-minute loss to England in the World Cup, is under contract to the Italian championship leaders, Treviso. But Lynagh, who scored a world record 911 points in 72 Tests, is said to be interested in coming to England.

Sella, who has also just retired from international rugby after winning a record 111 caps, has been contacted by a number of First Division clubs, but the indications are that he will opt for London for business reasons.

The adverse weather has forced the postponement of today's Courage League programme and created a problem for the England manager, Jack Rowell, after the National Clubs Association decreed that the games should now be played on 13 January, a week before England take on France in Paris and the very weekend scheduled for a prolonged squad session.

That would mean Bath, with eight squad members, and Leicester, with three, would be weakened. But fears of a club v country clash receded last night after Alwynne Evans, executive secretary of the NCA, explained: "Sides with three or more internationals can appeal against the decision to play on that date and we would then apply a little bit of common sense and ask them to take the next available date. We have to help England as much as possible."

n Peter Wheeler, the former England captain, has switched from being amateur president of Leicester to become the club's first professional chief executive.