Saracens fan Louise Warr weighs up the pros and cons of Saracens playing The Sharks in January

Enfield Independent: Former Saracens forward John Smit is now CEO of the Sharks. Picture: Action Images Former Saracens forward John Smit is now CEO of the Sharks. Picture: Action Images

Saracens have got themselves quite the reputation for being a club that likes to do things a bit out of the ordinary. In this case playing a game outside the fixture list.

With former Saracen John Smit, now CEO of the Sharks, and Technical Director Brendan Venter adding his expertise to the South African outfit in recent times it is no surprise that such a link has been made.

This is a game that will no doubt come under some scrutiny.

Firstly, Saracens face Newcastle Falcons in the LV= Cup the next day at Allianz Park.

The Men in Black currently top Pool One in the competition and look on course to secure a spot in the semi-finals however this position should not be taken for granted.

In the first two rounds Saracens have secured maximum points fielding a squad boasting a mix of experience as well as exciting young talent.

This game also opens up the squad to injuries.

Getting injured is part and parcel of playing sport at any level. It is a situation that cannot be avoided but when an individual’s body is their livelihood as is the case with professional sport then why add extra fixtures in to an already long season and further increase the risk?

The other side to this is the enjoyment factor of the game both on and off the pitch, the opportunity to make memories.

For the players, it gives them the chance to test themselves against new opposition, or in the case of some of the South Africans at the club, familiar faces.

Cast your minds back to November 17 2009, the day Saracens took on the then World Champions at Wembley.

The day was one of much excitement, a tense match in which the men in black fought to the very end and came out on top.

When Derek Hougaard’s drop goal sailed through the posts, did the fans inside the home of English football sit and state that it was only a friendly? No, they celebrated in a manner that the achievement deserved.

Saracens will go in to this clash with the same winning mindset they approach every game no matter the opposition and once everybody is inside Allianz Park on the January 25 nobody will consider the implications, both good and bad that the contest may have.


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