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Itoje: 'I'm 95 per cent sure where I will be'

By Ian Cameron
Maro Itoje

Much sought after England and Saracens secondrow Maro Itoje says that he’s ’95 per cent sure’ where his club future lies. Itoje was speaking on a politics podcast, where he addressed the speculation around his club future.

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Itoje has yet to confirm if he is going to play for Saracens in the Championship next season following their relegation for breaking salary cap regulations. He has been linked with a move to Racing 92 as well as an unlikely loan spell with Leicester Tigers. He could potentially stay at Saracens, and play for the club in any showcase matches against Super Rugby teams or other invitational sides over the course of their time in the RFU Championship.

The lock is odds on favourite to captain the British and Irish Lions next year, and whatever his decision, it will likely be based around how to best position him ahead of tour of South Africa.

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“It’s still to be confirmed but I’m 95 per cent sure where I will be,” said Itoje on the Political Thinking podcast.

In April Jacky Lorenzetti has admitted defeat in Racing 92’s ambitious plan to secure the services of Itoje. The reported seven-figure loan deal sparked a row among other Premiership owners who were unwillingly to allow Itoje play for a club abroad and still represent England.

This was despite national team coach Eddie Jones being apparently amenable to allowing his star lock spend a year in the French league and still be available to play for the 2019 World Cup finalists during the 2020/21 Test calendar window.

The loan deal report first emerged on March 13, the same weekend England were due to play away to Italy in the now deferred conclusion to the Guinness Six Nations.

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“We saw it, yes. It makes you dream,” said the Racing president in the latest edition of Midi Olympique, the French rugby bi-weekly publication.

“We are very close to the ceiling of the salary cap. And then, we are already very well off in the second row with (Donnacha) Ryan, (Dominic) Bird, (Boris) Palu… finally, there were complex agreements on this file with Saracens.”

Geordan Murphy denied that Leicester Tigers were after the signature of lock, on a loan spell or otherwise. Last month Murphy said: “That (Itoje rumour) is not true. Like everything this season, we have been attached to quite a few rumours. Maro Itoje is a fantastic player but is not in our plans at present.”

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