Alex Lozowski will use the burning resentment of his England World Cup omission to resist any challenge from Elliot Daly and fire Saracens to more titles.
Outstanding in the No.13 jersey as Saracens blasted their way to last season’s Premiership and European ‘double’, the 26-year-old’s form failed to find favour with Red Rose boss Eddie Jones and, barring injuries, Lozowski is now on the outside looking in.
However, he told The Rugby Paper: “What’s happened with England has been difficult to deal with and I’m hugely disappointed, but I’ve just got to dust myself off, be in good shape for the new season and maybe that chip on my shoulder will stand me in good stead.
“What Saracens have achieved over the past couple of seasons means that teams are going to come at us and there’s a huge target on our back, so it’s a good opportunity to help lead us into the battle because every team is going to raise their game against us.
“We’ll have guys missing at the World Cup but younger players like Max Malins, Tom Whiteley and Matt Gallagher have done well in the Premiership Cup and Shield and are desperate to make an impact now, so it’s up to senior guys like myself to step up.
“The opportunity has come for them to show what they can do in the Premiership and, personally, I’m excited now to be kicking on into another new season. I’ve still got England ambitions and, at some point, you just hope the balance will tip in your direction.”
Daly’s post-World Cup arrival could threaten Lozowski’s club hegemony at outside-centre. But he is unfazed, explaining: “I’ve been good friends with Elliot (left) since we were young players at Wasps together and I was away with him on holiday last summer.
“We had a bit of a laugh and a joke about him potentially coming to Saracens and now its actually happened, what a player he is to land among our ranks because he’s unbelievably talented and he’s going to add an awful lot to us on and off the field.
“You look at our line-up and the names just keep leaping off the page, but we’ll have to see if we can all fit in the team. I’m not giving up my shirt easily and it’s a great problem for the coaches because it means we’ll all be giving it everything in training.”
Saracens begin their title defence at home to Northampton in October but will have to wait until the last weekend in December before renewing their burgeoning rivalry with Exeter, the side they beat 37-34 last month in the greatest Premiership final.
Lozowski added: “It’s becoming a classic rivalry now with us meeting in three of the last four finals and Exeter are a fantastic team with brilliant players.
“For 60 minutes at Twickenham they probably dictated the final and might have thought they had it won, but we came back and played our best rugby.
“It’s all to play for again this season and they’ll want to try and take us this time, but there are lots of other teams coming through and getting better.”
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