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Saracens play down Adam Jones and Joe Launchbury moves but rue Nick Auterac Bath exit

12:22 01 February 2014

Ospreys prop Adam Jones. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ospreys prop Adam Jones. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

2012 Getty Images

Coach Alex Sanderson poured cold water on reports linking Saracens to moves for two international forwards but revealed his regret that Nick Auterac has decided to sign for Bath.

Joe Launchbury of Wasp. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty ImagesJoe Launchbury of Wasp. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Reports in the last few weeks have linked the Hendon club with a £300,000 a week swoop for Ospreys and Wales prop Adam Jones plus a move for Wasps lock Joe Launchbury.

The former is out of contract at the end of the season but England international Launchbury recently signed a contract extension to stay at Adams Park until 2015.

Nick Auterac. Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty ImagesNick Auterac. Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Asked if there was anything in the reports, forward coach Sanderson said after the LV= Cup win over Newcastle: “You’re probably best of asking Edward [Griffiths – chief executive], but not to my knowledge.”

On the stories linking Sarries to 32-year-old British and Irish Lions prop Jones, Sanderson said: “We’ve got two good tightheads at the moment.

“We’re always in the market for top quality players and world-class players but they have to be the right character and fit into the Saracens way, but nothing that I know of.”

Saracens will, however, be short one loosehead next season when Auterac departs for The Rec, leaving Rhys Gill, Mako Vunipola and Richard Barrington in the position.

Sanderson admitted that it was the decision of the 21-year-old, who has made 17 appearances for the club since making his debut in 2012, but is low down on the front row pecking order.

“It’s a shame,” the coach said, adding: “He thinks his future is better placed at Bath. We would have to disagree.

“He has got three good looseheads ahead of him – Richard Barrington came through [against Sharks] and you saw how he had Jannie du Plessis in his pocket.

“I guess he [Auterac] feels he’s going to get more game time at Bath which might be the case but we would have liked him very much to stay.”

Sarries travel to Northampton Saints today for the final LV= Cup Pool One game with both already qualified and vying for a home semi-final.

Marcelo Bosch and Michael Tagicakibau come into the side, in what are the only changes to the back-line from last week’s 41-8 victory over the Falcons.

In the pack, Petrus du Plessis starts at tighthead prop, with Justin Melck packing down at No.8.

On the bench Barrington, Matt Stevens, Moritz Botha and Jacques Burger come into the squad with academy scrum-half Jack Maplesden also included in the match day 23.

Saracens: 15. Ben Ransom; 14. Jack Wilson, 13. Tim Streather, 12. Marcelo Bosch, 11. Michael Tagicakibau; 10. Nils Mordt (c), 9. Ben Spencer; 1.Rhys Gill, 2. Jared Saunders, 3. Petrus Du Plessis, 4. Hayden Smith, 5. Eoin Sheriff, 6. Nick de Jager, 7. Matt Hankin, 8. Justin Melck.

Replacements: 16. Scott Spurling, 17. Richard Barrington, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. Jacques Burger, 21. Jack Maplesden, 22. Sam Stanley, 23. Tom Jubb.

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