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Joe Marchant emphatically responds to rumours over Premiership return

By Josh Raisey
Joe Marchant of England looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Argentina and England at Stade de France on October 27, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

Stade Francais centre Joe Marchant has said that he is “happy in Paris” amid rumours that he has signed for Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens next season.

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A report emerged from the Daily Mail on Wednesday that the 26-cap England international was set to join Saracens next season, ending his one-year stint in the Top 14 and making him eligible to play Test rugby again.

However, ahead of Stade Francais’ league clash with Oyonnax this Saturday, the 27-year-old denied signing a deal with Saracens, saying he is happy in Paris.

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“I didn’t sign for Saracens,” Marchant said in a press conference on Thursday in French. “I’m happy in Paris, the Club is fantastic! I’m ready for this weekend.”

Marchant is ineligible to play for England currently as he is not playing in the Premiership- a rule that is increasingly coming under scrutiny. He signed a deal to join the Parisian outfit from Harlequins at the end of 2022 after missing out on Eddie Jones’ Autumn Nations Series squad.

Since signing the deal, a lot has happened in English rugby, with Steve Borthwick replacing Jones as the England head coach. Borthwick opted to select Marchant for both the 2023 Guinness Six Nations and the World Cup, despite knowing the centre would be departing at the end of the season.

Marchant will be missed this coming Six Nations with injuries to both Manu Tuilagi and Ollie Lawrence. In their absence, Northampton Saints’ Fraser Dingwall is set to make his debut in the England No12 jersey on Saturday against Italy, and will partner Henry Slade in the midfield.

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Meanwhile, Marchant will hope to keep the pressure on Top 14 leaders Racing 92 this Saturday with a win over Oyonnax. Stade Francais currently sit in second place in the league, just three points behind their Parisian rivals, who face Perpignan on Saturday as well.

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