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Eben Etzebeth in talks with Saracens over possible move

Published 11/10/2016

South Africa's Eben Etzebeth is in talks with Saracens
South Africa's Eben Etzebeth is in talks with Saracens

South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth is in talks with Saracens over a short-term contract that would see him join the Aviva Premiership champions after the autumn internationals.

Negotiations to take the outstanding 24-year-old enforcer to Allianz Park, where he will join fellow Springbok Schalk Burger, are ongoing and it is hoped that a conclusion is reached by the end of the week.

Etzebeth has one year left on his Stormers contract and will be treading a similar path to last year when he spent a short-term spell at NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan upon complete of the World Cup.

However, it is understood there are misgivings at Western Province Rugby over the prospect of one of South Africa's most prized assets missing another off-season.

Saracens are seeking a replacement for second row Alistair Hargreaves, who was forced to retire last week due to concussion.

The double winners already have England's first choice lock pairing of George Kruis and Maro Itoje in their armoury, but recruiting Etzebeth to ease their workload would be too good an opportunity to miss.

"It's not the easiest time of year to find someone who is out or contract or eligible or available. We're looking but haven't found our man yet," Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said last Thursday when asked about a replacement for Hargreaves.

"It's important because we expect Maro and George not to be here in November. Kelly Brown is very willing so he might end up there."

Meanwhile, Saracens' squad will be addressed on Tuesday afternoon by Olympic triathlon medallists Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.

A guest speaker is invited to the training ground every six weeks and it is the Brownlees who are scheduled next, following in the footsteps of Michael Johnson and Sir Jackie Stewart.

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