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Depleted Saracens will get European dig-out if Leinster quarter-final is rescheduled - report

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

EPCR could be about to hand Saracens a Champions Cup lifeline… provided the authorities ever get around to rescheduling the defending champions’ postponed quarter-final versus Leinster in Dublin. The Londoners, who defeated the Irish province in last year’s decider in Newcastle, were due to put their title on the line at the Aviva Stadium on April 4 but the coronavirus outbreak instead led to the suspension of the tournament. 


No new date for the match has been suggested due to the uncertainty surrounding when the sport might be able to start staging games again, but a report in the Telegraph has claimed that if the European season is eventually resumed that Saracens will be given a helping hand. 

Automatically relegated from the Premiership for the 2020/21 season, Mark McCall is due to lose the services of a huge tranche of players on July 1. That exodus included the loss of Max Malins, Ben Earl and Jack Singleton, who have all secured loan deals to other Premiership clubs, and the likely exit to George Kruis to Japan.

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Saracens’ Mako Vunipola takes on Connacht’s Denis Buckley in the all-prop final of the RugbyPass FIFA charity tournament

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Saracens’ Mako Vunipola takes on Connacht’s Denis Buckley in the all-prop final of the RugbyPass FIFA charity tournament

The cut-off date to register players for the European quarter-finals was March 26 but with the entire schedule wiped out, a fresh date is likely to be set and guidelines amended so that Saracens can add academy players to their roster and provide support to the likes of the Vunipola brothers and Owen Farrell are staying on at the club despite their relegation.  

Flexibility is seen as an imperative with Saracens set to lose so many of their currently registered squad on July 1 through contracts signed with other clubs. Rather than mess around with these deals, a sports lawyer insisted to the Telegraph that it was best for the sport to allow the moves to go ahead as planned. 

“Come July 1, these players need to be at their new clubs or there would be all sorts of contractual arguments,” said Richard Cramer. “Players could look at extending their current contracts but if you start looking to extend beyond July 1 that becomes complicated. Who pays them? Who pays their insurance to play? It would be a possibility but difficult.”


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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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