February 25, 2024

Maro Itoje: England lock signs new 'long-term' contract with Saracens

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Maro Itoje scored two tries in his last appearance for Saracens – the 39-24 Champions League win over Lyon

England lock Maro Itoje has signed a new 'long-term' contract with Saracens.

The five-time Premier League winner has made 175 appearances for the club after making his debut in 2013.

Itoje, 29, has won three European Champions Cup titles at the Stone Ex Stadium, and was also named UEFA's UEFA Player of the Year in 2016.

Jack Willis, Henry Arundel and Joe Marchant are among the England internationals currently playing in France and therefore cannot play for their country.

Second row Itoje has been called up for this year's Six Nations Championship, with their opening match against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

The Saracens academy graduate has won 76 caps and won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2016, as well as playing in the 2019 World Cup final against South Africa.

He was also part of the England team that reached the semi-finals of last year's World Cup in France, again losing to the Springboks.

In an impressive club career, Itoje won the Premier League four times in five years between 2015 and 2019 and then again last season, as well as the European Champions Cup in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2018-19.

He chose to stay with the club until relegation in 2020, after Saracens were found guilty of breaching salary cap rules, winning the Championship and being promoted back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

“World-class player” – McCall

“Al-Muslimeen is my home and I couldn’t be happier to stay here,” Itoje said when signing his new contract.

“Looking back, I am very proud of what we have achieved over the past 10 years, and this is the best place for me to continue moving forward.

“With the team we have in place, I truly believe we have some very exciting times ahead of us and I can’t wait to be a part of it moving forward.”

The North London club is fourth in the Premier League with 36 points, one point behind Harlequins in second place.

They will face Bordeaux-Béglis in the round of 16 of the Champions Cup.

Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall said: “Maru has gone from a promising academy prospect to a global rugby figure.

“He is a world-class player, but what sets Maro apart is his dedication to his craft, the standards he sets, how he goes about his job on and off the field, and how that expresses his love for the club and the game.” .

“We know the best of Maru is yet to come.”

BBC Radio London's chief rugby commentator Andy Rowley

After all the success of the last ten years, this indicates that there is a desire and hunger at the club to move forward and create another great team.

Maro Itoje will now play most of his career at the club and I remember commentating on matches when he was coming through the academy – the first team players said 'this guy is going to be great, he's going to captain the club' and he would probably go on to make 100 caps for his country, he had not played in Premier League yet.

He was part of a team that won a lot of titles and now Saracens will make him pivotal in building another team, with the next generation of players.

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