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Saracens owner releases another statement.

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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.

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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,

Nigel”

A very interesting message which clearly shows that Saracens aren’t just a club that produces quality rugby players.

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6 Nations

England & Wasps star set to miss the rest of the season.

Big blow for Wasps & England.

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Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

England international Dan Robson has suffered blood clotting that could cause him to be sidelined for the rest of the season.

The scrum-half missed England’s final Six Nations game against Scotland and both his country and club, Wasps, have confirmed he suffered blood clots and are being evaluated and treated.

“Blood clots which arose spontaneously earlier this week and is being evaluated and treated by specialists at the moment. At this stage it is too early to give a return-to-play date,” they said.

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Robson himself released a statement after admitting he is devastated by the news.

“Obviously pretty devastated by my recent news but I know I am in the best hands to get back to full health and back on the pitch as soon as I can. Appreciate all the support from everyone and a special out to the medical staff that have aided me especially in locating the issue and acting so promptly,” he said.

England will hope the injury is not too serious as they head into their summer preparations for the World Cup later this year.

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Premiership

Harlequins announce trio of International singings.

An Italian and two Argentinians.

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Harlequins have gone on a spree of singings announcing 3 big name signings.

The most well known will be Italian centre Michele Campagnaro.

The strong, ball-carrying Centre, who can also cover wing, was a member of the Exeter Chiefs squad who won the Premiership in the 2016/17 season and is currently playing his rugby with Wasps.

The 26-year-old represented Italy in the recent Six Nations campaign and to date has amassed 42 caps for Italy and scored nine tries for his country.

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Campagnaro will join the Club after the World Cup, if selected, and said he cannot wait to get started at The Stoop.

“Joining Harlequins is a very exciting move for me and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “I was very impressed with the winning culture that Paul Gustard has created at Harlequins and I know he is building a squad capable of winning a lot of trophies.”

Paul Gustard, Head of Rugby added said: “I have watched Michele in recent years starring for club and country and I know he will be a great addition to our squad at Harlequins.

“We have an array of exciting talent at centre at the Club and Michele will provide excellent competition for places as we look to progress and build on this season’s momentum.

“Michele is a seasoned international, a Premiership winner, who will add top level experience to our playing group. He is a fantastic talent, powerful through contact and will give us even more of an attacking threat next season.”

Joining Campagnaro at Quins next season will be Argentina duo Santiago Garcia Botta and Martin Landajo.

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Premiership

The latest Cipriani rumour could ruffle an Irish man’s feathers

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There’s rarely a season goes by where rumours around Danny Cipriani’s future aren’t circulating. This season is no different.

Wasps signalled fairly early into Cipriani’s last season that they would not be renewing his contract. With Cipriani’s International future very much in the balance he didn’t decide on his 2018/19 club until fairly late into the season. With his International ambitions seemingly back on track having been named in the South African touring side, Cipriani decided against playing abroad and signed on with Gloucester Rugby fairly late in the season.

With it being late in the season, most clubs already have the majority of their roster & budget already penned in for the following season so it’s very unusual for big name and big money signings to be made late into the season. It is believed that Cipriani signed on a 2 year deal worth approx £190K per season, much less than he could have earned if had chosen to play overseas.

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Also rumoured to be in his contract was a ‘release clause’ that has alerted the attention of many other clubs. His recent form for Gloucester and his exclusion from the England side make him a very valuable asset to any club.

One of those clubs rumoured to be circling to see if Cipriani has itchy feet for a little more coin or a new challenge is reported to be Bristol Bears. Whilst this might be music to the ears of many in Bristol, it certainly wouldn’t be to Irish man, Ian Madigan.

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Madigan has regularly been fighting with Luke Daniels for the 10 jersey this season and he could have more competition on his hands if the ‘Rugby Paper’ is to be believed.

If this deal went through, could we see Madigan back on Irish soil sooner than expected?

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