Lynagh Enrolls for Saracens

Article excerpt

In his jacket and tie, Michael Lynagh looked as composed as the Great Gatsby yesterday as news of his forthcoming move to Saracens RFC was announced to a media scrum that degenerated into a rolling maul.

Confirmation that the record-breaking former Australian stand-off will join the north London club next season on a three-year contract invited a dazed speculation over transfers which might match its impact in other sports - Franco Baresi to Wimbledon, perhaps, or Michael Jordan to the London Towers. . .

But Saracens, for all that they are clinging uncertainly to their First Division status at the moment, have an ambition to become one of the foremost European clubs of the new professional era. That dream is given substance by the financial backing of their owner, Nigel Wray, a millionaire property dealer without whom Lynagh - whose legendary kicking helped him to a world individual points record of 911 in 73 matches for his country - would have remained the stuff of fantasy.

Only once did Lynagh, who retired from international rugby after last year's World Cup, appear flustered - when someone asked what his outspoken old mate David Campese would make of him throwing in his lot with the Poms.

"Oh well," he said, his mind momentarily scrambling. "I hope I'm not a constipated bull anyway." Campese, who is coming to this country next week with New South Wales, may or may not be kinder to his old stand-off than he was to Will Carling.

However, at 32, Lynagh is well able to withstand the bluster of Campo and any other Aussie who might want to have a go. Having played club rugby in Italy for the past five years with Treviso, he has thought out his next move carefully since Saracens - and two other English clubs - contacted him in October. When he moves, it will be with his girlfriend, Isabella, whom he plans to marry once she has completed her degree in economics at Venice University. …