Joe Launchbury’s proposed departure from Wasps to Gallagher Premiership rivals Sale appears to be gathering pace.
The England lock is believed to be unhappy with the high-profile departures of the likes of Nathan Hughes and Willie Le Roux, while rumours persist over Elliot Daly’s future.
Daly only signed a new contract with the Coventry-based club in 2017 off the back of a successful tour with the British & Irish Lions, but that has not stopped him being linked to Saracens.
The departures of props Matt Mullan, Will Stuart and Jake Cooper-Woolley were also confirmed this month, while coming the other way is All Black tighthead Jeff Toomaga-Allen and Exeter Chiefs tighthead Jack Owlett, along with Toulon centre Malakai Fekitoa.
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Launchbury would also be in line for a sizeable wage increase at Sale. Launchbury currently earns in the region of £270,000 a year, but RugbyPass understands that Sale are willing to almost double that by giving him a contract worth £500,000 per annum.
Sale have consistently operated well under the Premiership salary cap, but their coffers have been swelled by the recent deal that Premiership Rugby struck with CVC Capital Partners worth over £200m.
They’ve already raided Wasps to sign Cooper-Woolley, in addition to locking down the likes of Faf de Klerk, Josh Beaumont, Jono Ross, Ben Curry and Tom Curry to new deals.
Launchbury joined the Wasps senior academy in 2009 and the 27-year-old has made 135 appearances for club, captaining the side since 2016.
He recently went off injured during Wasps’ 37-19 Champions Cup Pool 1 defeat to Leinster, but was among the 36-man England squad that departed on Wednesday for a pre-Six Nations training camp in Portugal.
The loss of the 54-times capped lock would represent a major blow for Director of Rugby Dai Young, who is trying to avoid a sizeable turnover of his squad going into next season. Launchbury is rated as the Premiership’s 8th best lock in the RugbyPass Index, with an RPI of 72.
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