Saracens owner releases another statement.
Last week Saracens hit the headlines after ‘salary cap’ concerns. Owner Nigel Wray came out publicly last week and has came out this morning with the below message:
Statement from Saracens.com
“If you think of the Saracens culture and how we look after our people as a jigsaw puzzle then co-investments with players and staff are just one piece of the puzzle. The Saracens journey has taught me far more about what really caring for people means and how powerful that can be.
There was much talk last week about Saracens and in particular my co-investment partnerships with players past and present. First and foremost, I am an advocate of entrepreneurialism and independent spirit. Small businesses and young entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and it is why I have personally invested in hundreds of these opportunities over 40 years.
As a Club, we want and actively encourage all of our players to consider their futures beyond playing the sport we all love. A professional rugby career can be short-lived and we have a responsibility to educate, prepare and support all of our players in carving alternative career pathways for their lives after rugby. We are a Club that cares.
Our culture has evolved and will continue to do so but being a family matters to us. How do you look out for your family?
Players are supported in many ways. From arranging business secondments for work experience through to a creche facility at the training ground for their kids. Twelve players have been on work placements with our Club sponsors, Allianz and CME. Former player, Nils Mordt joined CME full time after finishing his rugby career as a direct result of a work placement during his time playing at Saracens. Hayden Smith is enjoying a very successful career at Enstar, where Saracens board director Dominic Silvester is CEO. Peter Harvey, former Corporate & Commercial Banking CEO at Barclays and a huge Saracens supporter, has worked for over 10 years with Saracens players as part of our Player Development Programme. Sadly, Joel Conlon had to retire through injury earlier this season and Peter has been helping Joel with his post rugby career choices by introducing him to board directors and exploring opportunities. We supported and nurtured Alex Sanderson, Kevin Sorrell, Paul Gustard and Andy Farrell as coaches when their playing careers came to an end and look where they are now…
Education is a crucial part of our culture. Those of you who know about the Saracens High School which opened last September will know that. We have had 17+ players who have gone on to further education including, to name but a few, George Kruis who got a first-class degree in Business Management, Jackson Wray who has a BA Hons psychology degree, Ben Earl who is studying Comparative Literature and Rotimi Segun who is studying Chemistry. Mark and the coaching team have always been fully supportive of this. Our strength and conditioning and medical staff will often rearrange sessions or come in on weekends to allow young players to go to university. It’s a Club wide ethos. Approximately, 75 per cent of the squad are involved in either university education, an industry qualification, meaningful work experience or an entrepreneurial venture.
We invest in developing our coaches from the Academy up. For example, Kelly Brown, a former player, who is now an Academy Coach and spent some time with Scotland Rugby to learn. Adam Powell, another former player, is now an Academy Coach and has a hugely bright future. Our staff are just as important to us as our players and we are currently running an internal training and development programme modelled around ‘The Saracens Way’ – an executive and management coaching programme run by Will Fraser, a former player who embodies the culture and ethos of Saracens.
We can’t list all these examples without recognising the incredible work that David Jones, our Personal Development Manager, does. David works tirelessly to develop tailored development programmes for each and every one of our players and is always there to listen. He is dedicated in this role.
It goes without saying that not everyone can be entrepreneurial and obviously investment comes in many forms. The more commercial investments often require significant capital and hence are largely co-investments with our senior squad. We actively support independent business. For example, when our captain Brad Barritt founded Tiki Tonga Coffee, we created an opportunity for them to sell their products at Allianz Park (for which they pay a commercial rights fee to Saracens). Tiki Tonga is 100 per cent funded by Brad and his business partner Justin and has recently opened their first coffee shop in South Africa. When Chris Wyles and Al Hargreaves started Wolfpack Lager, we were happy to help them on their way and I was delighted to have the opportunity to invest. Former player Jim Hamilton has also invested and I have recently increased my investment as the value of Wolfpack Lager grows. Ben Spencer and Henry Taylor have their table business 99 which has supplied various coffee shops. Henry also did work experience in Geneva three weeks ago organised by us, with Louis Dreyfus a commodities company. At Allianz Park we also have Fines Master Gin on site, a business launched by Michael Rhodes, Raw Spirit which is the brain child of Mike Ellery & Tim Streather, and Sanderson’s Puddings run by Alex Sanderson’s mum.
If any of our players have a sound commercial idea, I am interested and I may invest. The least I will do is offer advice. I recognise that in some quarters, these co-investments are perceived as part of the Premiership salary regulations. They are not. Investment is not salary. Investments go up and down. It’s an opportunity and a risk. It might be immodest to say this but between the Board and some hugely generous supporters our players have access to some of the best investment advice available anywhere in the country and we are all happy to share this for everyone’s benefit.
The Club is open and transparent with the salary cap manager and we proactively disclose co-investments when they occur, even though we are under no obligation to do so. We respect the rules and the salary regulations that are in place.
Our success is built on the strength of our Academy and the incredible efforts of the Academy staff are often overlooked. Of our current squad, 57 per cent is home-grown talent, the highest in the league, contributing towards the £1.2 million in credits we receive from PRL which, incidentally, makes our salary cap higher than most.Through significant investment in our academy system we have developed 58 players for the Saracens senior team, 11 internationals and four British & Irish Lions since 2008.
But there is, as always, so much more to do. With that connection, I am pleased to say we have now received full permission for the new West Stand, fully financed and with a strong partnership with Middlesex University. Work begins in the off season.
All the best,
A very interesting message which clearly shows that Saracens aren’t just a club that produces quality rugby players.
Gloucester Rugby sign Cardiff star
Gloucester Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of centre Max Llewellyn, who will arrive at Kingsholm this summer ahead of the 2023/24 season.
Llewellyn, who qualifies for both Wales and England, moves to the Cherry & Whites from United Rugby Championship side Cardiff Rugby, where he has made 40 appearances, scoring five tries.
The 24-year-old also spent time with Cardiff RFC in the Welsh Premiership and represented Wales U20s 14 times between 2018 and 2019.
At 6’5’’ and 105kg, Llewellyn brings a significant physical presence into Gloucester’s midfield options.
Max comes from impressive rugby stock, his father, Gareth Llewellyn, having won 92 caps for Wales.
Gloucester Rugby Head Coach, George Skivington, says the young centre is a welcome addition to the squad.
“Max is a young player that has a huge amount of potential and we’re excited about him seeing him in Cherry & White. He’s been really impressive for Cardiff over the last couple of seasons and we know he’s relishing the prospect of challenging himself in the Gallagher Premiership.
“He’s obviously a big lad and he enjoys that physical side of the game but that’s not the only string to his bow.
“Max will have some experienced Premiership backs to learn from here in addition to the coaching staff, so he’s in a great place to develop, and we’re looking forward to seeing him in Cherry & White.”
“I’m really excited to be coming to Gloucester” commented Llewellyn.
“It’s always been an ambition of mine to play in the Premiership and to do that for a club like Gloucester, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“I was fortunate enough to play at Kingsholm in pre-season and the atmosphere there was amazing; it’s somewhere you look forward to playing every week.”
Max is in for 2023/24, are you? Get your 2023/24 Club Membership before 5pm today (Monday 20 March) HERE to secure your early bird discount.
Dave Walder to leave Newcastle Falcons
Thursday 16 March 2023
Dave Walder will leave his role as head coach at Newcastle Falcons at the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
Following the departure of Dean Richards at the end of last season Walder has spearheaded the coaching department throughout the 22-23 campaign, which also comprises Mark Laycock, Mark Wilson, Micky Ward and Scott MacLeod.
While Dave will leave at the end of his contracted period he will step back with immediate effect, handing the reins to Mark Laycock until a successor is officially appointed in the coming months.
Speaking on Dave’s departure, Matt Thompson, chairman of rugby, said: “Realistically we haven’t been where we want to be for a few years now and as a club we recognise the need to make changes to our approach to achieve our goals. Transitional periods like this are never easy, and unfortunately we are going to lose some people along the way.
“A lot has happened, particularly this year, both across the sport and on and off the field at the club, and we need a bit of a reset across the board.
“Our aim is to be a sustainable club that is here for years to come and in line with that it’s important that we invest in the right areas, in the right way at the right time. We want to entertain our supporters and play an exciting brand of rugby, which also means having the right players and coaching personnel in place to take us forward, and that is part of our ongoing recruitment strategy.
“We’ve already made some great announcements including re-signing a number of players such as Ben Stevenson, Jamie Blamire and Adam Radwan. This has been bolstered by some new faces including Tim Cardall, Murray McCallum and Kiran McDonald. We also continue to recruit both on and off the field into the rugby department, including across the coaching team.
“The ongoing support from our loyal supporters and our employees is huge, and we want to thank them for the commitment they continue to show to Newcastle Falcons. We’re really excited for them to come on this journey with us and be part of what is shaping up to be both an exciting and sustainable future.
“On a more personal note, we’re immensely grateful for everything Dave has helped us to achieve. He’s been a massive part of our club for many years and as with all departures it’s been a tough decision, but ultimately the right one for the club as we move forward. We wish him all the best in the future and look forward to seeing what he does next.”
As a player Walder made 110 appearances for the Falcons, scoring the winning try in the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final and forming an instrumental part of the side which won the 2004 Powergen Cup final.
Going on to earn domestic and European honours with Wasps before finishing his playing career with Japanese side Mitsubishi Dynaboars, Walder joined Newcastle’s coaching staff in 2014.
Initially serving as kicking skills coach, he stepped up as backs and attack coach before being promoted to head coach in 2017, earning promotion from the Championship and helping steer the Falcons to their first Gallagher Premiership semi-final.
Newcastle Falcons is working to finalise the structure of the coaching team for the 2023-24 season, and further announcements will be made once the interview process has concluded.
Ollie Thorley re-signs with Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to announce that academy graduate, Ollie Thorley, has extended his stay at Kingsholm.
The Cheltenham College product became the Club’s youngest first-team try scorer when he crossed against Ospreys in March 2015 in the LV Cup and he hasn’t stopped scoring since.
The explosive winger has scored over 30 tries in Cherry & White, including a chart-topping 11 tries in the 2019/20 season, the highest-ever Premiership total by a Gloucester player.
Thorley represented England at U18 and U20 level, winning the 2016 IRB Junior World Championship with the latter, he later went on to win his first England cap against Italy in the 2020 Six Nations and is widely tipped to gain more international honours soon.
He bounced back from an injury that kept him out of the start of the season and has hit form straight away, winning back-to-back Stowford Press Player of the Match awards against London Irish and Saracens recently.
Gloucester Rugby Head Coach, George Skivington, commented:
“We’re really pleased that Ollie has committed his future to the Club. He’s a leading example of a player that has developed in the Gloucester Rugby pathway and gone on to be a key figure in the first team.
“He’s naturally a very dangerous attacking player, but he’s always working to develop and grow his game which you can see in his performances this season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Ollie represent this club for years to come.”
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