Sharks announce Saracens friendly

2013-12-18 00:00

THE Sharks yesterday finally announced that they would be travelling to London to face leading English club Saracens at the end of next month.

Reports of the high-profile friendly emerged in London earlier this month. Sharks CEO John Smit yesterday confirmed The Witness report of December 8 that the game would take place at Allianz Park in London on January 25.

“This marks an ideal opportunity to fine tune our preparation for the big season ahead against one of the Premiership’s best sides in recent history,” said Smit.

“We are very excited to again take our team to the UK and build on the incredible support we get there from our expats and locals alike. Saracens are a good fit for us as an English club with a strong South African flavour.

“It’s always good to learn from other teams and share ideas, and we could think of no one better than Saracens.”

Mark McCall, director of rugby at Saracens, said that a match between the Currie Cup champions and the Premiership log leaders would be a major draw card.

“It is sure to be a fantastic rugby occasion at Allianz Park,” he said.

“This will be the first match that Jake White will take charge of the Sharks and will form a crucial part of our preparation for the start of the Super Rugby season,” said Smit.

“Fans can expect a competitive Sharks team to be fielded at Allianz Park. We look forward to an entertaining encounter between two great sides.”

The match will be played three weeks before the Sharks open their Super Rugby challenge against the Bulls in Durban on February 15. A week later, they will again be at home to the Wellington-based Hurricanes.

It is unlikely that White will risk all his high-profile players in an early season friendly, while Saracens are also likely to field a water-downed team. The day after the Sharks’ match on January 26, Saracens will host Newcastle Falcons in a LV-Cup match at Allianz Park.

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