Saracens player exodus set to see new-look squad in 2020/21 – but how different will it actually be?

Liam Williams is set to lead a long line of squad players out of the door at Allianz Park, but the reigning Premiership champions may yet have a familiar feel come the start of the new season

Jack de Menezes
Thursday 09 January 2020 08:01
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Saracens rocked by 35-point deduction and £5m fine for breaking salary cap rules

Mark McCall and Edward Griffiths combined this week to drop the latest bombshell in the salary saga that is dominating the Premiership season, with Saracens set for a player exodus in order to comply with regulations this season.

The reigning Premiership champions find themselves bottom of the table and 18 points adrift of safety after receiving a 35-point penalty and £5.36m fine for breaching the salary cap between the 2015/16 and 2018/19 seasons.

The club have been keen to draw a line under the situation and move on in the hope of clawing their way back into the relegation fight, but the arrival of interim chief executive Griffiths brought with it the startling yet hardly unsurprising revelation that current squad members will be needed to move on immediately in order for the club to comply with this season’s salary audit, which takes places at the end of the campaign.

With star full-back Liam Williams the leading candidate to make a swift departure – largely due to his agreed summer move to Scarlets and the fact that Saracens will save £230,000 on the year’s salary bill if he doesn’t play this season – and others such as Callum Clark, Michael Rhodes, Alex Lewington and Juan Figallo reported to be following the Wales international out of the door, the 2020/21 squad will have a very different look about it from this year’s defending champions.

There is also speculation that the claim of Saracens’ England contingent being safe at the club does not spread to George Kruis, with the lock being linked with a lucrative move to Japan after getting a taste of the Far East at last year’s Rugby World Cup.

On top of that, Saracens captain Brad Barritt is out of contract at the end of the season, as too is veteran scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth who at 37 years old this summer is expected to continue his steps into coaching.

The club are able to boast one of the most successful academy’s in Premiership history, although prominent forward Joel Kpoku has already agreed a deal to join Northampton Saints in the summer in a pursuit of more first team opportunities, with the 20-year-old locked behind Maro Itoje, Will Skelton. Nick Isiekwe and Kruis.

The exits are expected to free up as much as £800,000 on the Saracens salary bill, on top of the near £700,000 that the club regained last summer in the departures of Schalk Burger, Marcelo Bosch, Dominic Day and David Strettle. But that could still be in preparation for a high-profile summer signing, with Leicester Tigers’ Jonny May currently on the radar at Allianz Park regardless of their financial strife.

So with that in mind, click through the gallery above to see how the Saracens depth chart could be looking in 2020/21.

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