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Johan van Graan has quietly set about improving every facet of the West Country club and results are starting to come

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Hugely experienced scrum half flies into Saracens

By Paul Smith
Joe Simpson dives to score a Gloucester try during their Gallagher Premiership win over Wasps (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Experienced scrum half Joe Simpson is joining Saracens on a month-long loan deal.

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The 33-year-old no.9 has spent the last two seasons at Gloucester where he has made 19 appearances in cherry-and-white.

Simpson has arrived at StoneX Stadium to provide cover during the early stages of the campaign.
This follows Ivan van Zyl receiving a four-match suspension for his sending off for dangerous play during Sarries’ pre-season game with Ulster.

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Matt Dawson and Mike Brown
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Matt Dawson and Mike Brown

In addition, Mark McCall’s team will be without Ruben de Haas who is away on international duty.

Following the points deduction that led to the ‘Men in Black’ being relegated for breaching the salary cap, two long-serving scrum halves departed the home of the multiple Premiership and European champions.

Former England no.9 Richard Wigglesworth is now part of the furniture at Welford Road where he has a player-coach role under director of rugby Steve Borthwick, himself an ex-Saracen.

And Ben Spencer, who many view as unfortunate not to have won more England caps in recent times is now plying his trade for Bath.

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Simpson has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premiership since bursting on to the scene for Wasps back in 2006, a club where he went on to make 230 appearances.

Indeed, it came as a major shock to fans of the Coventry-based club when Simpson opted to leave following an 18-month spell where he slipped behind Dan Robson in the club’s selection pecking order.

Saracens’ press release describes Simpson as being “hugely excited about being given the opportunity to join Saracens on loan.”

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He adds: “They have set the bar, performance wise, for all of the teams in the Premiership over the last decade and I can’t wait to meet everyone and contribute to the club.”

His new boss Mark McCall thanked Gloucester for enabling the loan move to take place before welcoming Simpson to Barnet.

“We are obviously delighted to secure the services of such a high quality, experienced player as Joe to increase our options at scrum-half in the weeks ahead,” he said.

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