Saracens want friendlies against SA's franchises
FRANCHISES: Top English club Saracens is hoping to organise matches against South Africa’s top four franchises that will be playing in the PRO14’s Rainbow Cup.
According to The Rugby Paper this proposed series of matches against the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions will take place before the South African teams compete in the Pro14’s Rainbow Cup, which kicks off on 17 April and concludes with a final on June 19.
Saracens will play in the English Championship (second division) this season after being relegated from the Premiership due to salary-cap breaches. Such a series of friendlies for Saracens will ease England coach Eddie Jones’ fears that several of his star players who are with Saracens will be underprepared for the Six Nations which is expected to start early in March.
It has been reported that Jones plans talks with Saracens about top England players Maro Itoje, skipper Owen Farrell, the Vunipola brothers, Jamie George and Elliott Daly.
With the Currie Cup final being played on 23 January there would be sufficient time for the South African sides to fit into Saracens’ plans as the Rainbow Cup will only kick off on 17 April and conclude with a final on 19 June.
However, the rugby load in South Africa’s combined Super Unlocked and Currie Cup competitions, plus the mooted Saracens game each, followed by the Rainbow Cup of seven matches and a possible final, and also the probable introduction into the early rounds of the new PRO16, will no doubt be weighed up carefully by the four franchises’ coaches and the Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber.
SOURCE: The Rugby Paper