Saracens’ “greedy” lock, Maro Itoje, withdrew from his transfer to France as he sought to avoid playing in the English second division.
The Saracens are set to be relegated from the English Premiership due to the abuse of their salary cap.
It seems that Itoje has been shopping in the French scene but his asking price was too high with one of his targets, the Parisian club Racing 92, letting slip what one of the best second rowers in the world was asking. .
Racing 92 owner Jacky Lorenzetti was asked if Itoje was too greedy, and he didn’t hold back.
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“Yes it was unplayable,” said Lorezetti rugbyrama.fr of what Itoje wanted to cross the English Channel, a move that could end his testing career due to the RFU’s selection policy on players based outside England.
“You know, we weren’t the only ones back then: Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier were all in demand. We were talking about a salary of 1 million euros (NZ $ 1.78 million).
“It represented 10% of our payroll. We have made the choice not to go any further.
The irony is that this weekend, Racing 92 welcomes Saracens and Itoje in the semi-finals of the Champions Cup.
Europe’s biggest competition represents a last hurray for the Saracens before they face their punishment and are consigned to play at tiny venues in England next season.
Itoje, a star of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand and in 2017 and a major force in England’s race to last year’s World Cup final in Japan, insists on the fact that he will remain loyal to the Saracens for now.
But he said RugbyPass earlier in the week he plans to play abroad at some point in his career.
“Definitely… I have had a great life and have the privilege of playing the sport that I love and experiencing the things that I experience,” Itoje said.
England rugby player Maro Itoje said the team were in a “great position” heading into the World Cup semi-final against the New Zealand All Blacks.
“But experiencing a different culture, a different style, just a different vibe, I have more or less lived in North West London for most of my life and this is a lovely place to live. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in England but at the same time it will be good and it will be great to experience something later at some point.
“I’m quite open to what the future holds. I don’t really want to place myself in a specific region or place… but when the time is right, I would like to spend at least a season somewhere.