Jones riles McGeechan as he ponders Cipriani bid

Saracens coach Eddie Jones angered Wasps boss Ian McGeechan after refusing to rule out an attempt to lure unsettled England outside-half Danny Cipriani away from their London rivals.


Wasps have 19 players out of contract at the end of the season, including Cipriani and England back-row James Haskell.


While the English champions would like to get them all signed up to new deals before the end of this year, the players themselves appear in no hurry to put pen to paper.


Former Australia coach Jones has made no secret he is keen to bring in top-class players to strengthen his squad.


And, after seeing his side concede three tries in the last 10 minutes as they lost 33-24 away to Wasps on Saturday, Jones said: “I am interested in anyone that is a good player and can help Saracens.

 

In January I will assess if any of the players are good enough and what Saracens need.

“We need to develop our young players and bring in players that can help us challenge,” he added.


But McGeechan, who next year will coach the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa, was in no mood to discuss the future of his star players.


“The contract situation is not unsettling any of the players and they are our business not yours,” he said.


“The attitude of the players has been first class this week and that was shown on the field,” the former Scotland international added.


Cipriani, who struggled for England during last month’s internationals at Twickenham, missed two kickable penalties and a drop-goal before being replaced by Dave Walder.


Previously Jonny Wilkinson’s deputy at Newcastle, Walder showed what he was capable of by sparking a triple-try haul in the closing minutes, his passes sending in Rob Hoadley and ex-England international Josh Lewsey before England wing Paul Sackey charged down a Noah Cato kick.


Elsewhere, London Irish stayed top of the table with a 42-12 home thrashing of Gloucester, where Australian stand-off Peter Hewat and England full-back Delon Armitage starred for the Exiles at the Madejski Stadium.


Two early Hewat penalties put the Irish, who’ve now won 10 consecutive matches inall competitions, ahead before Armitage scored a superb solo try from 60 metres out, sprinting through a gap in midfield before rounding outside-half Ryan Lamb.


Gloucester, who suffered a setback a few hours before kick-off when England centre Olly Barkley was forced out with illness, were restricted to the occasional penalty in a match where the Irish outscored them by four tries to nil and Hewat kicked 22 points in all as Harlequins, fresh from their memorable back-to-back Heineken  Cup wins against Stade Francais, came back down to earth with a 23-13 loss away to Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.


Former Newcastle stand-off Toby Flood came back to haunt his old club as Leicester won 20-3 to inflict the Falcons’ fifth straight league defeat.


Flood created the opening try for Ireland full-back Geordan Murphy, as well as scoring 10 points himself.


Aaron Mauger, the former New Zealand centre, scored the Tigers’ second try.


Matt Banahan’s try with just 52 seconds left on ther clock secured a 24-20 victory for Bath, who went second, over Sale.


Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Bath’s west country rivals Bristol remained bottom but closed to within a point of fellow strugglers Newcastle after a last-minute Ed Barnes penalty saw them draw 20-20 away to Worcester.


Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com

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