After being delayed for three months the Championship is set for a January start per The Times. The news will undoubtedly be a relief to Saracens, who feared that they would be stuck in the second tier after the competition was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, since the UK Government released funding for rugby union, the competition can finally start. After trimming their squad Sarries could find even more gems in their star-studded team.
The likes of Liam Williams, George Kruis, Ben Spencer, Will Skelton and Timi Lamositele left following lockdown. The club has promoted a number of youth stars to replace those stars.
Saracens young stars ready to blossom
The quick-fire end to the Premiership season saw the likes of centre Dom Morris, prop Sam Crean, winger Elliott Obatoyinbo, lock Joel Kpoku and flanker Sean Reffell introduced to the first team.
While other academy products namely the likes of Cameron Boon, Josh Hallett, Ollie Stonham, Jon Kpoku and Ethan Benson also made Premiership debuts after the restart.
The development of academy products has been promising for Saracens. However, with a number of veterans on the team they won’t be completely reliant on their young stars in the 2020-21 season.
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Promotion appears inevitable
Mark McCall will have the luxury of pairing their promising prospects alongside experienced campaigners such as Aled Davies, Michael Rhodes, Richard Barrington, Sean Maitland, Juan Pablo Socino and Jackson Wray.
It is inevitable the club will earn an immediate return to the Premiership.
Saracens will be looking long-term as the club look to re-establish that depth that saw them dominate in the Premiership and in Europe. The progress for those youngsters will be paramount.
The impact on the England stars
However, this could impact several England stars.
After the Autumn Nations Cup final in less than a week’s time, the likes of Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Elliot Daly, Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola will likely not see the field for over a month. This gives them just a few weeks to get into match fitness ahead of the Six Nations.
That leaves questions as to what shape those players will be in, especially given the fact they are unlikely to feature in the Championship.
While it raises further questions as to whether England boss Eddie Jones can afford to select players, who haven’t had game time ahead of their Six Nations title defence in February.
Although all six will likely play due to their importance to the team, and it will be a gamble for Jones to start all six. A gamble that he need to make if England are to retain their Six Nations crown.
However, a simple solution would be for Jones to call Mark McCall and ask him to give his England stars a few minutes as preparation for the tournament, one that would certainly benefit the stars who won’t have played in over a month and Jones, who will feel more comfortable having seen his Saracens quota play before the tournament.
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