It’s a been a tumultuous few months for Saracens, and news this week that a number of high profile players are likely to leave the club has added to the difficulties of the management at Allianz Park.
As outlined by interim CEO Edward Griffiths this week, the club are eager to fall into line financially as quick as possible having been found guilty of a breach of salary cap. Griffiths desire to ‘clean house’ will likely mean players will have to leave before the end of the season if they are to remain under the cap for the year.
With Liam William’s early departure now likely, Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall will have a major role to play in deciding which players face the cut.
“If any changes are required then I’ll be fully involved in those decisions,” McCall said.
“This group have been through a hell of a lot together anyway and they need to see that any player is treated as well as you can treat them in these situations and no one feels like they are squeezed out or anything like that.
“We’ve got to make sure we do anything that needs to be done really well, and I am sure we will. We are hoping it won’t be too cold.
“If anything has to happen it will be to players who will be coming towards the end of their careers or their contract ends in four months’ time.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 10, 2020
“Ideally that’s what would happen and we need to make sure those players leave the club amicably and on good terms, not on bad terms.
“I am really desperate for that to be the case because they have given the club a lot in the time they have been here.
“It is tricky, of course it is tricky, and it is not ideal but if something needs to be done, it needs to be done and we will do it as well as we can.”
At least five players seem destined for the door and more players could well follow.
As revealed earlier this week, Kruis is likely to leave Saracens at the end of the current season. Whether he ends up in Japan, or if he heads north to Northampton Saints seems to be the only sticking point for the England lock.
It’s hardly surprising that the 36-year-old is heading to the door, which is likely to have been the case regardless of the current need to trim salaries. The club stalwart has already effectively transitioned into coaching with Championship side Ealing and a stint with the Canadian national team during the Rugby World Cup.
A player who could fall foul of Saracens’ depth in the backrow. Veteran Callum Clark, now thirty, didn’t come through the Saracens academy so the club can’t avail of academy based salary cap incentives. The rise of Ben Earl, as well as the presence of established campaigners Billy Vunipola, Jackson Wray, and the ability of both Nick Isiekwe and Maro Itoje to cover six could cost Clark.
Rhodes is yet to play a minute for Saracens this season through injury. Saracens’ considerable depth across both the second and backrow means that the 31-year-old utility forward could be seen as a potential candidate for an early departure from the club.
The Argentinian is another player yet to play for the club this season, again, through injury. The 31-year-old Figallo is also potentially on more than his other tightheads at the club, with the exception of Vincent Koch.
Ellis Genge spoke to the Rugby Pod over the festive period in a brilliantly candid call. He spoke to Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode about his contract negotiations at Leicester Tigers, and the way that he deals with scrutiny on Twitter.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.