England Rugby head coach Eddie Jones says there is no reason why he and his selectors won’t utilise Saracens players, despite their team’s imminent drop to the RFU Championship.
Jones was speaking at Rugby Restart press conference at Twickenham, when the subject of Saracens came up. It’s been suggested that the level of competition in the English second flight might not be sufficient to keep top Test players honed for the rigours of international rugby, but Jones says he’ll pick on form.
“There’s no reason why we can’t pick Saracens players,” said Jones. “A lot of the players that are staying at Saracens are very experienced Test players. They know what they need to do to get ready.
“If they’re in form, we’ll select them.”
This week Saracens boss Mark McCall revealed to PA that he was open to the idea of loaning more Saracens players out, even to Super Rugby franchises.
“Those senior players might only need a couple of Championship games to keep them ticking over. If they need more competitive rugby there are avenues to make decisions with that player.”
Asked about possible Super Rugby loans, McCall stated: “I don’t think it is out of the question but this is their golden opportunity to have a quieter club year, something akin to a sabbatical.
“I don’t think if that was to happen it would be for very long. It would be to get enough rugby to make sure they are firing come the Lions tour.
“I talked to Warren Gatland on Monday and he was very happy with the situation.
“The Lions have a warm-up game before the tour where I would expect all of our players selected to tour to be involved. There are some warm-up games before the first Test match and that might be enough for them.
“The opportunity has arisen for these players to have a little bit of a different year and we will look to use it as wisely as we can.”
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