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An England age-grade back row mentored by former All Black Rodney So'aialo has secured Saracens deal

By Online Editors
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Andy Christie, a 21-year-old age-grade England international, has landed a two-year contract at Saracens following an academy adventure that included a spell in New Zealand under the guidance of former All Black Rodney So’oialo.


Christie made his senior debut for Saracens in the 2018/19 Premiership Rugby Cup having spent the summer of 2018 in Wellington, learning from So’oialo who won 62 Test caps in his seven-year international career.  

In the same season, Christie earned international recognition with England U20s, debuting against the Junior Springboks, before running out for the first time in the Gallagher Premiership against Worcester Warriors.

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In total, he has featured ten times for Saracens, including once in the Heineken Champions Cup, and he now believes he is at the right club to continue his development.

“I’m very happy to have signed a contract,” he said after agreeing on a deal that will keep him at the London club until at least 2022. “As soon as I was offered it, I was pretty buzzing. For me, there is not really a better place to be.

“There is a good crop of us coming through and on the few occasions I have managed to play with the likes of Manu (Vunipola), Elliot (Obatoyinbo) and Sean (Reffell) it is always special as you feel like you have come through the pathway together as is playing with those guys who are senior to you and those guys who you have looked up to for a number of years. It’s a special feeling every time you get to play.”

Director of rugby Mark McCall added: “Andy is part of an exciting group of players who have come through the academy together and are exceptionally close. Andy is motivated and dedicated and has shown us this season that he has the potential to be an important part of our future. We are thrilled he has committed to the club.”


Saracens followed up the Christie deal by announcing a similar two-year contract on Thursday for Elliott Obatoyinbo, the 21-year-old winger who also spent time in 2018 in Wellington, appearing for the Mitre 10 Cup side’s academy as well as in the local club league.

He has made ten appearances to date for Saracens and has had loan spells at Ampthill and London Scottish. “I’m really happy to have signed; there’s nowhere I’d rather be,” he said. “I know this is the best place for me to develop as a player with the coaches we have and the senior players that we have so I’m really excited.

“I came out of school just kind of relying on talent; rugby is a lot more than that and they’ve really helped me with my game and have been good for me.”

Boss McCall said: “Elliott’s progress over the last twelve months makes us hugely excited about his future. He is very clear on what he wants to achieve and is prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to allow him to do that.”



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finn 10 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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