There is no doubt that Saracens are the hottest team in club rugby at the moment and now several of their stars are looking to make a big impact during the 2016 RBS Six Nations for England.
The London giants have made an unbelievable start to the 2015/16 season, in 14 Aviva Premiership and European Champions Cup fixtures Mark McCall’s side have tasted defeat just once, scoring 51 tries in the process.
It was no surprise to see Europe’s form side supply a large chunk of Eddie Jones’ England Six Nations squad. The group of Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Jamie George, Owen Farrell, Chris Ashton and Alex Goode were dubbed the ‘Super 8’ by the club.
The Six Nations returns to Twickenham in 2016 with two huge encounters. England v Ireland (Saturday 27th February) see’s the defending champions travel to London for Eddie Jones’s first home game. Round four is the return of one of international rugby’s biggest fixtures England v Wales (Saturday 12th March) as the home side seek to avenge their World Cup loss.
This talented group of players enhanced their Six Nations claims as Saracens dismantled Ulster on Saturday in the European Cup. The 33-17 score line fully reflected the dominance of the hosts and Eddie Jones will find it hard to leave out the Saracens contingent.
Owen Farrell produced another man-of-the-match display at fly-half kicking 13 points and controlling the game beautifully. Forwards Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje were at their destructive best, both getting on the scoresheet. Vunipola carried all day and made dents in the defence, while Itoje’s pure athleticism, breakdown work and work rate really stood out.
George Kruis made a swift return from a concussion and ruled the lineout, while producing a typically industrious display in the loose. Jamie George the main threat to Dylan Hartley at hooker had another excellent game, popping up all over the field.
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) January 18, 2016
Jones can’t afford to leave out in form players for the Six Nations
In his early press conferences Jones has spoken about the need for England to win their opening RBS Six Nations encounter with Scotland; and the desire for the his side to play an attractive but physical style of rugby.
During the last World Cup, England looked lethargic and clueless at times, particularly up front where they were beaten up by Wales and Australia. At the breakdown they were completely outplayed.
Many believe Jones will get it right with his selection. The current crop of Saracens players are making his job a lot easier.
Maro Itoje is ready for Test Match rugby despite making just 39 appearances for his club. This man has the potential to be the world’s premier forward. His energy, power, skill and intelligence will be a big boost for England. For too long they have lacked a real thinker in the pack.
Both Vunipola brothers have to start. Mako is now an accomplished scrummager and brings dynamism around the park. Billy is a one man wrecking ball, but he is starting to add strings to his bow, his work rate in particular has improved.
Owen Farrell looks set to feature at inside centre during the opening rounds of the Six Nations. His ability to control a game can really take the pressure off George Ford and allow him to play his natural game.
The difference these players can make for England during the Six Nations is huge and is an exciting prospect for fans to have this group of youngsters ready to fly the flag in the coming years.