Dan Scarbrough, the former England full-back, is to leave Saracens by mutual consent. Although a club spokesman insisted that there was nothing untoward in the departure of the Yorkshire-born, 30-year-old fullback-wing, Scarbrough has started just one first-team match this season, the opening fixture against Harlequins at Twickenham.
Competition at Saracens for the back three places is intense, with Scarbrough up against players such as Richard Haughton, Kameli Ratuvou, Francisco Leonelli, Rod Penney, the US Eagle Chris Wyles and latterly the in-form Alex Goode, who has slotted into the No 15 berth in classy and confident fashion. Not even Haughton's long-term injury – he has been out of action for three months with a fractured metatarsal – allowed Scarbrough a second chance of establishing himself in the starting line-up.
With a couple of bright prospects in the shape of academy players James Short and Sam Caprice beginning to blossom, Scarbrough's long-term, prospects did not look too good either.
A statement issued by Saracens yesterday acknowledged Scarbrough's four and a half years service to the Watford-based Premiership club. Eddie Jones, Saracens' director of rugby, said: "Dan has been a terrific servant to Saracens and he's a great bloke to have around the club who works and trains very hard. We wish him all the best in the future."
Scarbrough, who won the last of his two England caps against South Africa in June 2007, made his debut in England's 2003 Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Wales.
Worcester have been dealt a severe blow with the news that Sam Tuitupou, their New Zealand centre, is out for the rest of the season. Tuitupou ruptured his right anterior cruciate ligament during the Premiership match with Newcastle Falcons last weekend. Tuitupou, known to his army of fans as the "pocket rocket", has become a cult figure at Sixways Stadium since his arrival from Auckland Blues in 2007. The dynamic 26-year-old midfielder, who has played on nine occasions for the All Blacks, has made 35 appearances for Warriors and scored 12 tries.
Worcester's director of rugby, Mike Ruddock, said: "It's a major blow for Sam and the team. What's amazing is that he was able to play on against Newcastle after such a trauma, but that typifies the toughness of him as a player. However, Sam is already very determined to get the injury right before the medical timescale and we will give him the very best support possible during this time out."
Tuitupou will see a leading orthopaedic surgeon next week for cruciate ligament reconstruction and is expected to make a full recovery and be available for pre-season training next year. The Auckland-born centre is scheduled to spend the first six weeks of his rehabilitation with Worcester, before returning to New Zealand, where he will work with the Auckland Blues' physiotherapists and conditioners. He is then expected to return to Worcester in May.
After Harlequins' success in attracting a Guinness Premiership record 50,000 crowd for their match against Leicester at Twickenham last weekend, Wasps are looking on course for a sizeable audience at HQ when they entertain Leinster in the Heineken Cup on 17 January. The Wycombe-based club are not looking to challenge Quins' record, but already they have sold 20,000 of the 30,000 seats they have booked at Twickenham for the match they have dubbed "the battle of the capitals".