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Saracens' Andy Christie out for the season, but handed Scotland hope

By Josh Raisey
Saracens' Andy Christie during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Harlequins and Saracens at The Stoop on November 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Saracens have confirmed that flanker Andy Christie will be out of action for twelve weeks after breaking his arm against Northampton Saints on Friday.

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The Scotland international played the entire 80 minutes at Franklin’s Gardens despite the injury as Saracens fell to the Gallagher Premiership leaders, and will now require surgery on his arm.

Despite this impediment, Christie still managed a match-high 23 tackles, and made the second-most carries in the contest.

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Ardie Savea on New Zealand Rugby’s eligibility rules for the All Blacks

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Ardie Savea on New Zealand Rugby’s eligibility rules for the All Blacks

The 25-year-old has been in the form of his life this season for the London outfit, which led to him forcing his way into Gregor Townsend’s starting XV for the first time during the Guinness Six Nations.

His absence will be a huge blow to Sarries not only with an Investec Champions Cup round of 16 clash against Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday, but with four rounds of the Premiership season still remaining.

While a twelve-week lay-off will end Christie’s campaign with Saracens prematurely, he is likely to be fit for Scotland’s July internationals, where they face Canada, the USA, Chile and Uruguay.

Following a 52-7 win over Harlequins at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Premiership’s return, Saracens crashed back down to Earth against the Saints, who themselves had lost 52-21 to Bristol Bears the week before.

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After the result, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall bemoaned how some of his players were a “little bit off” at Franklin’s Gardens.

“Last week, we saw when everyone was at it and engaged, what we are capable of,” he said.

“There are some who were at it and some who were a little bit off and, against a good team like Northampton, you pay for that.

“We showed some grit in both halves, to fight back from 17-0 down and from 27-13 to 27-20. We were in the game but never really felt we had control of it.

“Overall, it’s a good lesson for us that if we want to do what we want to do, we have got to have everyone right at it. I don’t know (how crucial the try bonus point will be), but we showed some grit and skill at the end to get an unlikely point from it.

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“But I wouldn’t want that to get away from our disappointment at setting ourselves a target of stepping up a level today and I don’t think we achieved that.”

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William 4 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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