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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Quinnell signs for Saracens
Craig Quinnell in 2002 Six Nations action against Ireland
Craig Quinnell has been capped 32 times by Wales
Wales second row Craig Quinnell has signed a four-year contract with English side Saracens.

The 26-year-old had been in negotiations to extend his current deal with Cardiff, but had failed to agree terms during four months of talks.

It is believed that Saracens, chronic under-achievers again this season, have offered a massive 400,000 for Quinnell's services, who has been capped 32 times by Wales.

Saracens have also announced that France prop Christian Califano will join them during the summer, while they are in talks with Pontypridd's Fijian fly-half Nicky Little.

  Craig Quinnell factfile:
Position: Lock
DoB: 9/7/75
Height: 6ft 6in (1.98m)
Weight: 20st 3lb (146.5 kg)
Wales caps: 32
Test points: 25 (5 tries)
Wales debut: 11/11/95 v Fiji

Califano, who has won 66 caps and is currently playing for Auckland in New Zealand, will join fellow French internationals Abdel Benazzi and Thomas Castaignede at Saracens.

Little, meanwhile, could link up with a second Premiership club after leaving Sale to play for French side Dax, before moving to Pontypridd.

Little's possible departure from Sardis Road will increase speculation that world record Test points scorer Neil Jenkins will quit Cardiff at the end of the summer and return to his home-town club.

Pontypridd will only have the inexperienced Ceri Sweeney as front-line cover if Little departs, while Cardiff have rugby league convert Iestyn Harris and the up-and-coming Nicky Robinson vying for the No 10 shirt.

Quinnell's decision to turn his back on the Arms Park has disappointed Cardiff coach Rudy Joubert.

"It's a big blow to my plans," admitted the South African, who was recently pipped to the Springboks job by Rudi Straeuli.

"Craig was a major part of our team this season and a really good player. It's always sad to see someone like Craig decide not to stay on.

"Given the state of the game in Wales, the club made him absolutely the best - and maybe even a little bit better than we could afford - offer to keep him.

"But he opted for what's available across the (Severn) Bridge."

The four-year deal to join the Watford-based club could earn Quinnell - who is the younger brother of Wales skipper Scott - up to 137,500 per season with European appearances.

Wales and Saracens centre Tom Shanklin
Quinnell will link up with Wales team-mate Tom Shanklin at Saracens

Quinnell sought assurances from new Wales coach Steve Hansen that he would still be considered for the national team if he moved to London.

"I have clarified my Welsh position with him, I will always be available for Wales," Quinnell said.

"I am sorry to be leaving Cardiff. I have done my level best to negotiate something with them."

Quinnell has a fine rugby pedigree as the son of British Lion Derek and nephew of Wales legend Barry John.

He has been sidelined recently by a knee injury but is expected to tour with Wales to South Africa this summer.

The 20-stone lock will not be amongst total strangers when he arrives at Saracens next season, as Wales centre Tom Shanklin is also at Vicarage Road.

His arrival will coincide with Scotland international lock Scott Murray's likely departure to the new Borders professional outfit.

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Cardiff coach Rudy Joubert
"It's a big blow to my plans"
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