Will Saracens’ relegation impact England?

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As Saracens prepare for life in the Championship, Eddie Jones must potentially begin to prepare for a year without a full strength team. Despite Saracens’ relegation a large chunk of the core ‘Wolfpack’ has opted to remain in North London. Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Elliot Daly and both Vunipola boys have put pen to paper to stay at the club.

That leaves questions as to whether they be at the right level of fitness and conditioning for international duty. This will leave Eddie Jones with a selection dilemma.

Saracens relegation no problem for Eddie Jones

The England boss has repeatedly insisted he will have no issues selecting Saracens stars while they are in the Championship.

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The Championship is undoubtedly a lower level of competition and that raises many questions. Firstly being whether Eddie Jones can select a number of players who aren’t playing top level rugby. The Australian must also consider the detrimental effects dropping several core players will have on the national team.

How does it impact Saracens international stars?

Saracens had six starters and two players playing in the World Cup final. Farrell is the captain, both Vunipola brothers, George and Daly have featured prominently since Jones’ arrival.

Despite the situation Sarries boss Mark McCall thinks the club’s stars will have ideal preparation for the autumn completion of the Six Nations. In addition to the one off eight team Test tournament.

There could be benefits for the national side and those who remain in Hendon. It could mean the likes of Farrell, Daly and George may be able to focus more on being fit and available for England, without the week to week grind of Premiership and Champions Cup action.

In addition, the England stars would likely play very few games in the second tier. That would be beneficial for the likes of Billy Vunipola. The number eight has had his fair share of injury problems over the past few seasons.

Saracens will likely use their stars sporadically in the Championship, that rest would leave them healthy for the Lions tour to South Africa. In a move that could potentially extend their careers.

Super Rugby loans following Saracens’ relegation?

The club could also consider sending the England contingent on loan stints to the southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby. This would enable their stars to experience Super Rugby without ruling them out of international selection.

That would not only enable the six players to experience top level rugby, but would enable Saracens to recoup some of the finances lost from relegation. The club’s income will drop in the Championship and quite significantly too. The relegation parachute payment alone won’t cover 25% of their inflated wage bill.

Enabling the six players to play in Super Rugby may also give the Lions a small advantage ahead of the 2021 tour. Having played the South African teams the likes of Farrell and co will be able to get valuable insight on those teams. Identifying how they play, identifying weaknesses and adapting to the style of play would be beneficial for Warren Gatland as he prepares for the tour.

Although it doesn’t feel like it relegation could well be a blessing in disguise for Saracens and their stars.

Premiership restart reveals selection policy

McCall’s selection policy has made the club’s plans clear to see. In the clash against Gloucester the club opted for a youthful approach. Six academy graduates featured in the game including the youngest Vunipola, Manu. Their 36-20 victory demonstrated this was not a big risk.

Games like these could be ideal preparation for the youngsters as they prepare for regular rugby in the Championship.

However, in pivotal games Sarries will likely revert to their star studded lineup. This was shown with Aled Davies, Farrell, George, Itoje and club veterans Jackson Wray and Michael Rhodes playing prominent roles in the 38-24 win against Harlequins.

The likes of Davies, Rhodes and Calum Clark to name a few will likely feature regularly due to a lack of international commitments. But, in all likelihood the England international boys will play few games due to wanting to keep the internationals fresh for England duty.

However, if Wednesday night‘s victory is any indication of the selection policy in the Championship. Farrell and co may not be needed at all.

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