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Bracken: Saracens’ Lions tour hopefuls should be looking to leave


KYRAN Bracken would be looking to switch clubs if he were still a Saracens player and  expects Eddie Jones to trigger the ‘exceptional circumstances’ rule to continue selecting those ready to quit for France.

The former Sarries and England scrum-half believes it would make total sense for the England boss to do so with the likes of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola then able to play top level rugby on the continent while still playing for their country.

Jones can choose those players who decide to bite the bullet and play in the Championship and try and help the club bounce back  at the first attempt.

But Bracken does not feel that is realistic with so much at stake in terms of a huge Lions tour in 2021.

Braken told The Rugby Paper: “It would not be difficult for England to relax the overseas rule – this is an ‘exceptional circumstance’ because nobody expected so many of Eddie’s players to be at a club which is suddenly relegated from the top flight.

“Mark Wilson went on loan to Sale from relegated Newcastle last season to keep himself in with a chance with England, but I can see Sarries’ top stars being told to go and play in France for a year or two and then we will use the ‘exceptional circumstances’ just for that period.

“If you are at the top of your career internationally and fighting to get a place in the England side how are you going to feel about dropping down to the Championship?

“If I was competing with Matt Dawson for the No.9 spot and felt that if I went down I wouldn’t have a chance to play for England I’d certainly be looking elsewhere.

“I’d have loyalty to the club I’m with, but it’s different when there’s a Lions tour coming up. These guys could be playing in the Championship while trying to compete with rivals playing at a much higher level. It’s not an easy comparison.”


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