Connacht were given a major boost on Tuesday when Ireland scrum-half Kieran Marmion agreed to another three-year deal to remain in Galway.
There were rumours that the 27-year-old was seeking a return to England, his place of birth, to play for reigning Champions Cup winners Saracens after he was snubbed by Joe Schmidt for the World Cup.
That was possibly what inspired the 27-cap half-back to look beyond Ireland for a more lucrative contract.
What is most interesting about this announcement is that it comes a day after Saracens decided to accept a £5.36million fine and 35-point deduction in the Gallagher Premiership for breaching the salary cap.
The reigning Premiership champions are now fighting for their survival in the top division, as they sit 26 points behind eleventh place Leicester Tigers.
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The punishment was for failing to disclose payments over the past three years, which related to co-investments between chairman Nigel Wray and some of his players.
While Saracens insist they will work within the cap this season, few outside of the club know what this will entail and what the future looks like for their current players and future signings.
Well it was saracans he was talking too !!!
— Ger haugh (@gerthelegend) November 19, 2019
Maybe the sudden disappearance of the @Saracens cheque book changed his mind?
— Hugh Mullen (@hughpmullen) November 19, 2019
Now it may just be a coincidence that Marmion’s new deal was announced a day after Saracens were hit by this fine, but some think the two are undoubtedly related.
Could be their points deduction and fine played a part too, if he was thinking of joining them
— Eoin Dineen (@Eoin_Dineen) November 19, 2019
This is perhaps the first sign that a club which have been able to spend quite lavishly to produce Europe’s best team may need to curb their expenditure, albeit they have made it clear that this should not be the case over the coming seasons.
Say it's more to do with the optics of Sarries as a whole, the next 12 months at that club are going to be interesting viewing….
— ???á? (@RonanB) November 19, 2019
Kieran Marmion's contract talks with Saracens after the fine/points deduction was announced pic.twitter.com/gvjHTJJmp0
— Jonathan Fitzpatrick (@JFitzpatrick92) November 5, 2019
While the rest of the Premiership are set to be beneficiaries if Saracens do indeed need to curtail their signings, Connacht are clearly the most fortunate side out of this particular situation.
Marmion’s extension is yet more positive news after the Irish side’s victory last Sunday over Montpellier in the Champions Cup. They will travel to European giants Toulouse this Saturday with even more confidence.
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