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Saracens deny influx of SA stars

Edward Griffiths
Griffiths wants to make Sarries "one of the leading clubs in Europe"

Saracens chief executive officer Edward Griffiths insists there will be no mass influx of South African players despite the recent overhaul of the club.

Griffiths revealed they will shortly announce 10 new signings, some English, some Italian and some South African.

He also confirmed they hope to play two matches at Wembley Stadium next season, but ruled out any change of name.

"Saracens is and will remain emphatically English in spirit and character," Griffiths said.

"There will be no change in name and no change in playing kit, and the club remains committed to playing home matches at Vicarage Road, Watford.

This is a carefully managed evolution, not any kind of revolution

Sarries CEO Edward Griffiths

"The club is planning to enhance its profile by playing two matches at Wembley Stadium next season, aiming to attract the world's largest ever crowd at a club rugby match.

"The club will expand its admired youth programme, spending up to four times as much on the club academy as other Premiership clubs and will continue to invest in the extraordinary community work undertaken by the Saracens Sport Foundation.

"The recent investment from South Africa has strengthened the club in many respects, and we will eagerly seize opportunities to expand our supporter base into the large expatriate South African community in London and south-east England.

"This proud English rugby club is indeed changing, for the better, on and off the field, but this is a carefully managed evolution, not any kind of revolution."


Saracens are now part-owned by a South African consortium led by businessman Johann Rupert, whose daughter Caroline is on a board of directors including ex-Springboks Francois Pienaar and Morne du Plessis.

Another former Springbok, Brendan Venter, will take over as director of rugby from Eddie Jones, who left prematurely last month after a disagreement over the future direction of the club.

Venter told 15 of the current playing staff in late-February they will not be required next season.

With members of the ownership consortium also having controlling stakes in South African Super 14 franchises the Sharks and the Stormers, it is believed some high-profile Springboks have been targeted as possible recruits.

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see also
Saracens 'will honour contracts'
30 Mar 09 |  Saracens
Coach Jones leaves Saracens early
13 Mar 09 |  Saracens
Jones criticises Sarries turmoil
01 Mar 09 |  Saracens
Saracens players shocked at exits
26 Feb 09 |  Saracens
Dallaglio dismayed by Saracens
26 Feb 09 |  English
Saracens plan massive clear-out
25 Feb 09 |  Saracens
Saracens to stay at Vicarage Road
19 Feb 09 |  Saracens
Venter to quit Exiles
05 Feb 03 |  English
Venter finds the cure
23 Apr 02 |  English

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