United Rugby Championship

Sharks confirm friendly clash against English giants Saracens

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Siya Kolisi (Gallo)
Siya Kolisi (Gallo)

The Sharks have confirmed a friendly fixture against English club Saracens for early next year.

The Durban franchise said in a statement on Wednesday that the game will take place at Saracens' home ground, StoneX Stadium, in North London on 15 January.

"With our move up north to compete in the United Rugby Championship, the Sharks will now be playing regularly against European opposition and although English teams are not participating in this competition, the Cell C Sharks will use a travel opportunity in early January to make the journey to North London for this friendly fixture, when two of the biggest rugby clubs in world rugby go head-to-head," a statement from the Sharks read.

"The Sharks and Saracens have forged strong ties over the years, sharing coaches and a host of top players. With the likes of Billy Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and Vincent Koch likely to come up against the Sharks Springboks namely Ox Nche, Thomas du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi, Siya Kolisi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Aphelele Fassi and Sbu Nkosi, this game is poised to be a rugby spectacle."

Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said they were excited at the opportunity to tackle a prestigious English club like Saracens.

"To be able to play this fixture in London against a team that has had such a strong South African link over the years is very exciting for us," Coetzee said.

"I have no doubt that it will be a memorable occasion for everyone involved with some of the best players in the world participating.

"In line with our vision of taking the Sharks brand to the world, this will also provide the team with a wonderful opportunity to interact with our UK fan base and to grow our brand in a very attractive overseas market.

"The scene is set for an exciting clash involving two very proud rugby brands with our sport being the ultimate winner."

Saracens' director of rugby, Mark McCall, added: "We are hugely excited about this match. The Sharks are one of the most iconic teams in the sport so to have added this fixture is brilliant for us.

"I'm sure there will be an amazing atmosphere and with such high-class players all over the pitch, it promises to be a memorable match."

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