Elliot Daly says the chance for personal improvement rather than winning trophies was the driving force behind his decision to join Saracens.
Wasps supremo Dai Young has spoken of his disappointment at losing Daly, a Wasp man and boy who made his debut as an 18-year-old and played a huge part in transforming the club from relegation strugglers in 2012 to finalists five years later.
However, Daly, 26, told The Rugby Paper: “It’s emotional and I’ve loved it at Wasps, but it’s time to move on. It was a massive decision to move but it wasn’t necessarily to maybe win something, it was a move to challenge myself in a new environment.
“I also want an environment that will challenge me. Hopefully that is Saracens, and I believe it will be because you only have to look at last week’s Champions Cup final to see how determined they were to win that game. Leinster had no answer to it.
“I’m under no illusions, I’m going to have to play exceptionally well to get into that team – and that’s the challenge, that’s what I want to try and do.
“I’ll have to be on my best form because they’ve got internationals everywhere, but that’s one of the main driving forces behind me going there.”
Daly has played full-back for England over the last year and represented the Lions on the wing, but he is an outside-centre by trade and that’s where Saracens may deploy him – if he can fight past the impressive Alex Lozowski.
He said: “Thirteen is where I’m looking to play and I’d love to play outside Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt, Nick Tompkins and all those boys. It’s part of the attraction if Saracens see me there but I play other positions as well and nothing is for granted.sa
“With the way Loz is playing at 13, Alex Goode at 15 and all the quality wingers they’ve got, for me it will just be a battle getting into the team.
“But there are a lot of England boys there who I get on well with and the way they go about their business is always very professional. They want to be the best they can be, which is great to see, and hopefully I can add something to Saracens.”
Before he clocks-on at Allianz Park, a World Cup beckons with England.
“If I get the chance it will be amazing, but again nothing is taken for granted,” Daly said.
“I’ve settled into the 15 role but Eddie Jones will be ready to test us and he has so many options to choose from. Mike Brown’s chomping at the bit and Anthony Watson’s fit, so that’s the competition you want going into a World Cup.
“Brown and Watson are quality players and will bring the best out of me. My versatility in playing different positions might be an advantage but I’ll go in with the mindset of doing my best in the position I’ve been in for a while.”
While England missed out on the Six Nations title, Daly added: “It didn’t go to plan against Wales but there were so many positives, particularly in the way we attacked, and I’ve no doubt that we can be a big threat in Japan.”
For now, Daly will say his goodbyes at Wasps: “It’s sad to leave but I made good friends, played with great players and I’ll always be grateful to Dai for giving me chances, especially when I was much younger and inexperienced.
“He helped me become a Test player through those experiences and my best memories are coming through that near relegation season and seeing us get stronger by reaching a European semi-final and a Premiership final.”
NEALE HARVEY / Photo: Getty Images
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