This week, Saracens and England back Elliot Daly has confirmed his commitment to stay at the club next year following their relegation from the Rugby Premiership. Daly joins fellow England star Jamie George who has also outlined his commitment to Sarries next year in the Premiership.
This comes following the much-covered salary cap scandal, where Saracens were fined £5.2 million and docked an initial 35 and then later 70 points for exceeding the salary cap limit which means they have no chance of avoiding relegation this season.
Daly’s teammates and England players Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and brothers Mako and Billy Vunipola have not yet revealed, or maybe concluded upon, their plans for next season – but the north London club will be buoyed by George and Daly’s commitment.
For established England players, this relegation could potentially be seen as an opportunity to rest in otherwise very busy careers.
Rugby players have short careers, with many of them forced to retire early due to injuries that are accrued through the busy scheduling of both national and club commitments.
Come the end of the season, players who played in last Autumn’s Rugby World Cup will have essentially been playing non-stop since summer last year. A year spent in the Championship could be used as a welcome break – a sort of half sabbatical – used asan investment to extend their playing time in the long run.
This because players will have much reduced club commitments, as the only aim of the season is to be promoted; a task which – if Sarries maintain the core of their squad – should prove simple.
Players like Daly, Farrell et al. could focus on their international careers and furthering their chance of selection for next summer’s British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.
Daly seems to mirror this sentiment. When asked whether he had any regrets regarding is Sarries move, he had this to say:
“I’ve got no regrets about joining. The way that we train, the players there, the coaching staff, it’s an amazing club to be at. We’ve got the rest of the season until June to work out what we’re going to do next year but it could be a massive positive [with a chance to rest].”
This is about damage control for Saracens now, and if they can secure their top players then that will put them in better stead for when they do inevitably return to the Premiership.
By Will Sewell.