KSA Shark ©

Boks to get Sarries sabbatical

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 14 Oct 2008 at 12:18
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South Africa’s leading players could soon be “loaned” to English Premiership club Saracens on a sabbatical arrangement similar to Dan Carter’s six-month deal with French outfit Perpignan.

Rugby 365’s Jan de Koning writes that Eddie Jones, former Wallaby coach and technical advisor to the World Cup-winning Springbok team last year, is on a fleeting visit to South Africa to formalise the deal on behalf of his club, Saracens.

Jones, who joined Saracens as a Director of Rugby at the start of the 2008/09 season, has already been in preliminary discussions with the Blue Bulls management and will also chat to Western Province officials this week.

In an exclusive interview with rugby365.com Jones confirmed that the “loan agreement” is one of the key reasons for his visit to South Africa.

He returns home later this week to resume his duties at Saracens, ahead of their European Challenge Cup Round Two match against Italian outfit Viadana at Stadio Luigi Zaffanella on Saturday.

Carter’s deal with the French Top 14 club was ground breaking, in that it allows the player to enjoy the European experience, without being lost to New Zealand rugby.

He will join Perpignan after the All Blacks’ end of year northern hemisphere tour and Carter would return to New Zealand in June 2009.

Jones, speaking after he had met the Bulls coaching staff and management on Monday, explained the reasons for his visit – despite a hectic European schedule.

“Obviously we have the same owners in the SAIL company,” he told rugby365.com, adding: “So what we would like to do is try to maximise intellectual knowledge between us and the Bulls and us and the Stormers.

“We are looking to share ideas with coaching staff, in terms of strength and conditioning, player management, medical and coaching.

“Then there is also the win-win situation of player exchange,” he said.

Jones said that while English clubs are always seen to be taking players out of South Africa, Saracens are looking to return the favour.

“What we’d like to do, because of the special relationship we have with the Stormers and Bulls, is if we have some good player who need some game time and the Stormers and Bulls are short in those positions, to loan those players to the South African provinces.

“Conversely, the other way round, if there are some young players who aren’t getting much game time and we need a player in that position they’ll come to us on loan.

“We’ll help develop them and send them back to the Stormers and Bulls a better player.

“The last situation is your very high profile player, who maybe want a European experience , but rather than go the full hold and sign and cut their ties with their provinces – particularly in South Africa where the players have a very deep relationship with their provinces – are able to take a sabbatical of five or six months or a full season.

“They can come and play with Saracens, we develop that player even more, they enjoy a different culture and then go back to play for the Bulls and Stormers again.”

Jones said that the discussions are at a “preliminary” stage and no specific players have been mentioned.

“We’ve had some good chats [Monday] with the Bulls and we’ll continue to chat,” he said, adding: “There’s certainly no-one in particular at the moment.”

Jones, because of the fleeting nature of his visit, didn’t really have much time to help the Bulls ahead of the Currie Cup Final against the Sharks in Durban on October 25, but he is still putting his money on a Bulls win.

“The Bulls by eight,” was is straight-forward reply when asked about a possible result in the Final.

While he has not been able to help the Bulls coaching staff much, Jones said he was very happy to see how far the team from Pretoria has come along this season – after a very shaky start in the Super 14.

“It is one of the pleasing things to see how the team has developed,” he told rugby365.com.

“With the team having been so successful in the Super 14 under the old laws, they probably struggled early on – with a number of other issues as well – to find their game.

“But now they’ve found their balance in terms of the ELVs and they are going pretty well.”

The Saracens boss also said he has not followed all of the Currie Cup action this season, but watched the latter stages of the competition and also the semifinals.

“We tried to see if some teams – like Western Province, the Blue Bulls and the Sharks – are doing something innovative in terms of how they interpreted the ELVs,” he added.


  • Just read that Brent Russell has been released by Sarries to go and play for Clermont.

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.10.08 12:49:26 by McLovin Reply
  • Eddie van der Jones is a Bulls fan. Well, I never. 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.10.08 12:51:59 by McLovin Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 1) : hoekom?

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.10.08 13:14:12 by PJLD Reply
  • @PJLD (Comment 3) : Just reading between the lines, making wild assumptions, that kind of thing. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.10.08 13:18:22 by McLovin Reply

  • @PJLD (Comment 3) : He picked the Bulls to win the final by 8. Only a fan ever picks the Bulls to win. Unless it’s on SB. 😉

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.10.08 13:19:44 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 1) :

    To be fair there is so much younger talent in the back three at Sarries at the moment that Brent didn’t have a hope in hell of nailing a regular starting berth this season.
    Supposedly it was a mutual decision and the Clermont offer came out of nowhere. Nice to have clubs and players parting ways acrimoniously.

    Brent hasn’t really had a good time at Sarries – he spent large parts of last season injured on the sidelines.

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.10.08 15:44:14 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 6) : All true. 🙂

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.10.08 15:50:38 by McLovin Reply

  • From the Sarries website:

    Brent Russell has signed for French side Clermont Auvergne and the South African international full back is set to join up with his new team mates in the next few days.

    The 28-year-old signed for Saracens last season but a broken collar bone within days of his arrival in August 2007 restricted his first team appearances. He has not featured in the first team this season after a shoulder injury in pre-season ruled him out of the first few weeks of the new campaign.

    But the now fit-again Russell would have found his first team opportunities limited following the development of the likes of England U20 international Noah Cato and recent performances of Chris Wyles added to the other back three options within the Saracens squad.

    As a result, Saracens and Russell have agreed that a move would be in the best interests of both parties.

    “Brent is at the stage of his career where he needs to be playing regular first team rugby and we are unable to offer that at this time,” explained Saracens Director of Rugby Eddie Jones. “We have strength in depth across the back three and in the last two weeks we have seen the exciting steps forward that Noah Cato has taken, while Chris Wyles continues to impress following his arrival on secondment from USA Rugby.

    “Also, with players like Kameli Ratuvou, Richard Haughton, Francisco Leonelli, Rodd Penney, Edd Thrower and Dan Scarbrough within the squad, we have a number of options.

    “With that in mind, when this opportunity arose for Brent to move to one of the leading clubs in France, we felt it would be wrong to stand in his way. He’s very popular with players and supporters alike and we all wish him the best for the future.”

    Speaking about the move, Russell explained: “The offer from Clermont came out of left field and was totally unexpected. I had high expectations for my season here at Saracens – especially after some good pre-season training – and I was looking forward to playing some great rugby when I damaged ligaments in my right shoulder. Apart from the series of injuries, I have been very settled and happy here at Saracens and have made some very good mates who I will really miss.

    “However, the life of a professional sportsman is all about taking one’s opportunities and the offer from Clermont is a good one. I am really looking forward to getting involved in the French style of play and feel that playing in France will suit my game. I am looking forward to the challenge. “

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.10.08 16:24:39 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • BTW – Richard Houghton is a wonderful player to watch and I’m shocked he hasn’t had an England call-up yet.

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.10.08 16:25:57 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 6) : you mean amicably, not acrimoniously… 🙂

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.10.08 18:30:54 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 10) :

    Hmmm yes you are correct.
    Seems acrimonious means the excat opposite of what I meant…

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.10.08 19:07:27 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 11) : Indeed it does 🙂

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.10.08 19:11:47 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • No idea what intellectual capital Jones looks to gain from the Bulls…

  • Comment 13, posted at 15.10.08 09:44:52 by MorneN Reply
  • @MorneN (Comment 13) :

    I think nothing more than he says below.

    Jones, speaking after he had met the Bulls coaching staff and management on Monday, explained the reasons for his visit – despite a hectic European schedule.

    “Obviously we have the same owners in the SAIL company,” he told rugby365.com, adding: “So what we would like to do is try to maximise intellectual knowledge between us and the Bulls and us and the Stormers.

    Marriage of Convenience if you ask me

  • Comment 14, posted at 15.10.08 09:49:17 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©

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