Sharks confirm friendly tie against England’s Saracens

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The Sharks will play against the Saracens of England in January.
The Sharks will play against the Saracens of England in January.
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The Sharks have confirmed a friendly match against one of the top English sides — Saracens — for early next year.

The Durban-based franchise said the game will be played at StoneX Stadium in north London on Saturday, January 15.

“The Sharks and Saracens have forged strong ties over the years, sharing coaches and a host of top players,” read a Sharks statement.

“With the likes of Billy Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and Vincent Koch likely to come up against the Cell C 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.”

Around that time the Sharks will be in Europe for their United Rugby Championship (URC) meeting with Benetton of Italy on Saturday, January 8.

The KwaZulu-Natal side said following their move up north to compete in the URC, it will become a norm for them to play against European opposition.

English teams are not participating in the URC, but they will still help the Sharks in their quest to learn how to deal with the European teams in the competition.

Sharks chief executive Eduard Coetzee said this was a great opportunity for the two clubs, as well as for the sport.

“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 fanbase and to grow our brand in a very attractive overseas market.”
Sharks chief executive Eduard Coetzee

“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,” he 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 fanbase 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.”

“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.”
Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall

Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall added: “We are hugely excited about this match. The Cell C 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.”

Meanwhile, the Sharks are preparing to host the Scarlets of Wales in Durban in a URC match on Saturday.

The game will kick-off at 5.30 pm.

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