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Farrell’s signature is worth weight in gold

Owen Farrell’s statement of intent by signing a five-year contract at Saracens will ensure the rest of the club’s highly prized stars stay put, according to recently retired flanker Will Fraser.

Saracens supremo Mark McCall and coach Alex Sanderson have both voiced fears that salary cap restrictions will result in some of their crown jewels being hijacked when their contracts come up  for renewal over the next couple of years.

However, Fraser, below, reckons the likes of Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Jamie George and brothers Mako and Billy Vunipola will find it impossible to leave a club that has developed their careers and achieved so much domestic and European success.

Fraser told The Rugby Paper: “Owen re-signing speaks volumes because, while none of us really know, if anyone’s going to be having lures and offers from elsewhere, he would certainly have been a huge target for many other clubs.

“For him to sign a five-year deal not only shows Saracens’ intent, but how highly he regards the club and what they’ve done for his career. He obviously sees his long-term future here and believes the success will continue for many years.

“I can’t see any of them ever going. I can say from first-hand experience it would be extremely hard to leave the club, especially for those ‘Class of 2008’ boys like George, Jamie and Jackson Wray, along with Maro and the Vunipolas.

“A lot of them have not just come through the academy, they’ve grown up at the club and become huge parts of its culture and success.

“You never know, maybe with rugby growing in popularity things may one day change, but Saracens have been an integral part of their lives and they’ve invested a lot in the club emotionally, so  I can’t see them leaving.”

Fraser, meanwhile, believes fly-half Alex Lozowski is establishing himself as a key player who can give Farrell a genuine run for his place.

He said: “Owen’s an absolute machine and there’s not much more you can say about him, but Lozza’s putting pressure on which is good for the club.

“When you look at Lozza last year, he hadn’t had much game time at Wasps but he came here and established himself as an extremely good player, and getting a place on England’s tour to Argentina will have boosted his confidence.

“Lozza’s an extremely talented guy who’s increasingly skilful and quick and punches above his weight in defence. Some of our counter-attacking rugby against Northampton last week was the best I’ve ever seen and he was part of that.”

While a neck injury has forced Fraser to call time on playing, he now has a new role at the club delivering the ‘Saracens Way’ scheme and is also taking the first steps on the coaching ladder with Level 6 outfit Amersham & Chiltern.

He added: “I did quite well to make it to 27 with all the injuries and operations I had, so I have no regrets having been at Saracens during their most successful period, winning Premierships and European Cups with my best friends.

“The Saracens Way looks at how Saracens have gone from a chronically under-achieving club to double-European champions and how lots of what’s been created is transferable into other business, schools and organisations.”

NEALE HARVEY

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