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Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: NewPotnoodlehorn (IP Logged)
Date: 07 June, 2020 07:51

From today's Times - GREAT NEWS

Mark McCall reveals Saracens plan with focus on top-flight return in 2021-22

Squad divided into four groups

The arrival at Saracens of Aled Davies, the Ospreys scrum half with 20 Wales caps, was greeted rather oddly by one newspaper. It portrayed this signing as a rare shaft of light among the gloom caused by an exodus after relegation from the Premiership, and allied blows.

Yet the news is that Saracens players are staying in droves. Mark McCall, the director of rugby, has almost completed planning for the 2021-22 season, when they hope to be back in the Premiership (after what they think will be a hard year in the Championship). The squad, it seems, will feature all their England World Cup megastars, bar George Kruis.

Had they been a Premier League football club relegated from the top league, or had they not been a club that draws such fierce loyalty and pride from their players, Saracens could easily have been looking for a whole new playing staff.

How has McCall plotted the long comeback? “What we asked ourselves first is how we wanted our squad to look in 2021-22,” he says. “At the centre of that is trying to retain our best younger players who are going to be the core of the club. We have a decent record in developing young players from the academy all the way through, that is the club we want to continue to be.”

So seven high-quality players whose development would not necessarily be improved in the second tier are joining other Premiership clubs for one season only, and have already re-signed for Saracens after that season.

“We are incredibly grateful to some of the clubs who have helped out,” McCall says. “Max Malins has been hammered by injury but everybody knows he is an incredibly exciting talent. Alex [Goode, aged 32] is an older player who deserves a chance to experience something different.”

Another club source told The Sunday Times that they expect Goode, such a brilliant player for Saracens and treasured by McCall, to go to a Japanese club for the season, while the richly talented Alex Lozowski is expected to sign for Montpellier.

Yet the challenges are still relentless. Saracens have to play the remaining nine games of what is now last season, a quarter-final round of the Heineken Champions Cup away to mighty Leinster, plus a full campaign in the Championship to try to earn promotion.

Initially, the new Championship season may yet run on the same weekends as the “old” Premiership matches. McCall and his colleagues have, in effect, divided their squad into four: the one-season wonders contingent; the illustrious England World Cup contingent — Maro Itoje, Billy and Mako Vunipola, Owen Farrell, Jamie George and Elliot Daly; a group from the normal first XV; and the young players.

How do they run the elite England group? “This is a complicated conversation,” McCall says. “Pre-Covid, the idea was for them to have a restful club year, to play a lot of Tests, the odd cup game and then the Lions. But because there has been nothing in March to May it could well be that they finish the old season, then the Europe quarter-final, so they will have some good rugby.”

There is still the possibility that at least one of the superstars will depart on a one-year deal. Itoje reportedly intended to spend his season at a French club but the RFU ruled that he would still be subject to the regulation that prevents selection for the England squad for those abroad.

McCall’s third and fourth groups are complementary. He has a strong group from the normal first XV squad for the Championship and any one-off games. Finally, McCall has earmarked about 20 players, many from the academy, who will benefit from time in the first team in the Championship.

Saracens will have positions to fill. The powerful Kruis is going to Japan and Will Skelton, the Australian, has joined La Rochelle. Ben Spencer, the scrum half, has been announced as a new Bath player. He and the prop Titi Lamositele who has joined Montpellier, are, you suspect, the only players that Saracens truly wanted to keep. They will also need to replace the leadership of the centre Brad Barritt, who is not expected to continue beyond this season.

Do Saracens feel angry? Not at all. “We made some mistakes and were punished for them,” McCall says. “We hope to be back in 2021-22 with a strong and homegrown squad.” Exodus, but in reverse.

Seven leaving for one season
Seven players, all bar one of them internationals, are leaving Saracens on one-season contracts. All have re-signed for Saracens for 2021-22: Ben Earl (to Bristol); Alex Goode (Japan); Nick Isiekwe (Northampton); Alex Lozowski (Montpellier); Max Malins (Bristol); Jack Singleton (Gloucester); Nick Tompkins (Cardiff Blues)

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So no more speculation - there it is from Mark's mouth in the Sunday Times.

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: Jim 55 (IP Logged)
Date: 07 June, 2020 08:49

As you say Sir a very positive read. Something to look forward to, watching our winter game!

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: OldMarovian (IP Logged)
Date: 07 June, 2020 10:17

All sounds very positive and I'm really happy both that it sounds like Lozos French move is still on and that it's just for a season.

An interesting question about captaincy once Barritt moves on. Farrell? Maro or maybe one of the wider squad players who will play most of the games?

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: myleftboot (IP Logged)
Date: 07 June, 2020 13:06

OM. Jackson Wray for me. If everyone else continues to ignore him, we need to give him every accolade going!

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: Cereal Killer (IP Logged)
Date: 07 June, 2020 14:05

Quote:
myleftboot
OM. Jackson Wray for me. If everyone else continues to ignore him, we need to give him every accolade going!

+1

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: OldMarovian (IP Logged)
Date: 07 June, 2020 14:17

MLB I think he is an exceptional club player and could see that being a good choice.

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: maynas (IP Logged)
Date: 08 June, 2020 11:14

Quote:
myleftboot
OM. Jackson Wray for me. If everyone else continues to ignore him, we need to give him every accolade going!
Cant see him as captain material after how he talked to Luke Pearce back in January......

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: GazzaFez (IP Logged)
Date: 08 June, 2020 14:56

He's already proven he's captain material. He's already done it. Whether or not he's going to be good at it or not in the long term is a different issue and only time will tell. He'd certainly have my backing. Next season would be the perfect opportunity, when Brad is being rested.

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: Barty II (IP Logged)
Date: 08 June, 2020 15:17

From the interviews with Sanderson and McCall recently, think there's a very real chance that Brad is being permanently rested...

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: Sarriebone (IP Logged)
Date: 08 June, 2020 17:04

Quote:
Barty II
From the interviews with Sanderson and McCall recently, think there's a very real chance that Brad is being permanently rested...

That would be a real shame, playing alongside him, albeit in the championship would be invaluable for some of the youngsters.

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: jonnybrowne (IP Logged)
Date: 09 June, 2020 15:57

Quote:
Cereal Killer
Quote:
myleftboot
OM. Jackson Wray for me. If everyone else continues to ignore him, we need to give him every accolade going!

+1

+ another one

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: Nosher1979 (IP Logged)
Date: 13 June, 2020 09:21

I am still of the opinion that Jackson was not getting the information he needed from Luke Pearce. The ref was especially school master like at that period of the game and Robshaw also added to the mix.
Besides my own reading of the situation which was as emotional as Jackson was, it’s not the refs decision or role to choose the captain, it’s the clubs.
I would be happy for Jackson to captain, maybe with some coaching on handling difficult situations.

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: OldMarovian (IP Logged)
Date: 13 June, 2020 10:49

My main memory of that game was how good Quins were in attack and how cynical elsewhere and Pearce turning a blind eye.

Always hard to provide a balanced view as a supporter when your team gets a bit of a thrashing but I can remember saying to a friend that it was pointless continuing to talk to Pearce as he simply wasn't going to referee killing the ball and taking players out at the lineout and in open play. I had plenty of sympathy with Wray at the time and the fact that the frustration show by him was so obvious only gives me an indication of how bad things were.

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: The Bard (IP Logged)
Date: 13 June, 2020 12:07

It’s odd, as my reservations of Jackson as a captain were that he was too placid and standing politely by as the opposition captain was constantly in the refs ear. Maybe that day he over-compensated..

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: jonnybrowne (IP Logged)
Date: 13 June, 2020 13:23

Quote:
The Bard
It’s odd, as my reservations of Jackson as a captain were that he was too placid and standing politely by as the opposition captain was constantly in the refs ear. Maybe that day he over-compensated..

I think it would be very harsh to judge Jackson as a potential captain on the basis of that day. It wouldn’t have been easy for anyone, even Brad, not to react to Pearce‘s refereeing, a hammering, the stress of wider issues and a hostile crowd.

Jackson gets my backIng as captain going forward.

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: Sara'sman (IP Logged)
Date: 13 June, 2020 14:01

Might we follow the recent trend of a club captain (Jackson Wray) and a match day captain (Jamie George)? To my mind no-one in the club offers the combination of leadership, communication (including with the referee) and strength of making the First XV more than JG. Additionally in thinking ahead to 21/22, excellent though he is, Jackson is far from guaranteed a starting spot in our First XV (Isiekwe, Earl, Vunipola).

The obvious counters to naming JG are the substitution of Hookers (rarely happens when it really matters to the game in his case), and his unavailability during International periods (hence the club captain suggestion).

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: OldMarovian (IP Logged)
Date: 13 June, 2020 17:00

An excellent idea Sara'sman. I'm not clear what the situation with Barritt is for next season but it is vital that our captain is a day-to-day presence IMO. That rules out the Internationals for me other than as you say a match day basis for which George would be an exceptional candidate.

The best teams seem to have a number of leaders on the field. I hope we can identify the young players with that ability and develop it even as we rely on the older heads to provide calm leadership on the field in the coming season.

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: TonyTaff (IP Logged)
Date: 23 June, 2020 09:47

Perhaps Maro could have some games as captain to prepare him for the role in SA (Sm22)



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Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: Sarriebone (IP Logged)
Date: 23 June, 2020 10:42

Will Hooley signs from Bedford: [www.saracens.com]

Re: Saracens squad for 2021 confirmed - REALLY
Posted by: jonnybrowne (IP Logged)
Date: 23 June, 2020 19:27

Quote:
Sara'sman
Might we follow the recent trend of a club captain (Jackson Wray) and a match day captain (Jamie George)? To my mind no-one in the club offers the combination of leadership, communication (including with the referee) and strength of making the First XV more than JG. Additionally in thinking ahead to 21/22, excellent though he is, Jackson is far from guaranteed a starting spot in our First XV (Isiekwe, Earl, Vunipola).
The obvious counters to naming JG are the substitution of Hookers (rarely happens when it really matters to the game in his case), and his unavailability during International periods (hence the club captain suggestion).

Yes I’d go along with all that.

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