Centre Rodd Penney has returned to Saracens from Aironi. The 32-year-old quit Vicarage Road in September to pursue first-team rugby but is now back at the club he joined from London Irish in 2006.
Penney, who featured 93 times in his first Sarries spell, is available for Saturday’s LV= Cup clash against Llanelli Scarlets.
“We’re delighted to have Rodd back with us,” said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall.
Owen Farrell was one among the six Saracens player to get new deals. Hooker Jamie George, lock George Kruis, flanker Jackson Wray, scrum-half Luke Baldwin and winger James Short have also signed new deals.
Farrell, 19, will face competition for the number 10 shirt from Charlie Hodgson when he signs in the summer.
“There is no doubt we have a really special group of youngsters,” said director of rugby Mark McCall.
Gavin Henson has said that he is hoping for welsh return after impressing for Saracens. Henson made his comeback as a second-half replacement at outside centre, having spent 21 months out of the game.
“The reason I got back into rugby was to play for my country,” said Henson. “I would love to do it in the Six Nations but time is running out.”
Wales face England on 4 February, with Warren Gatland naming his squad after the Heineken Cup games in mid-January.
Brendan Venter has said that he will leave his role as the director of rugby from Saracens. Chairman Nigel Wray said Venter, who joined Sarries in 2009, will become technical director from 9 January.
“Brendan, Anneme and their children are returning to South Africa in January for family reasons,” he explained.
First-team coach Mark McCall will take over Venter’s role, while backs coach Andy Farrell will replace McCall.
Saracens were defeated by a good Gloucester, despite having a lot of stars on board. Sarries dominated the opening half with two penalties from Owen Farrell and a converted try by James Short after Gloucester’s Alex Brown was sin-binned.
After the break Nicky Robinson added a penalty to his two first-half strikes before Charlie Sharples scored a sparkling individual try.
Saracens pressed for a winning try but the hosts’ defence just held firm. The result moves the Cherry and Whites above Saracens and into fourth in the table but they had to come back from 10-0 after half-an-hour.
Farrell kicked the visitors ahead before he was hauled down late by Brown – for which the second row saw yellow.
Saracens Rugby Union boss Brendan Venter has praised Steve Borthwick and new winger David Strettle and believes that they can prove decisive in the season. The pair rose from the bench to spark a Sarries victory on Sunday with the score tied at 13-13 against Sale.
Venter told BBC Three Counties Radio: “Brilliant, he [Strettle] was very good, excellent out there. “He’s just world class, but so is Steve Borthwick. He made a massive difference when he came on the field.”
Saracens were beaten by the London Irish in a match which ended 33-16. Ernst Joubert’s try opened the scoring for Sarries before Ryan Lamb kicked a penalty for the Exiles.
Schalk Brits muscled over before Lamb struck again just before half time.
Irish then came alive with tries from Delon Armitage, Sailosi Tagicakibau, a penalty try and Tospy Ojo to outscore Saracens 27-6 after the break.
In a game that saw four yellow cards – two on each side – Joubert crossed in the corner after some slick handling from Brits and Chris Wyles while Delon Armitage sat on the sidelines after a professional foul.
Alex Goode, who was starting the game at fly-half, missed with the conversion and it was to prove the opening act of a disappointing performance for one of Sarries’ star performers of last season.
Joubert provided the impetus for the second try with a penetrating break from the base of the scrum on Exiles’ 22 before Brits handed off Delon Armitage, just back on the field, to score. Goode again failed to add the extras.
The Saracens lock, Steve Borthwick who captained England in 20 of their past 23 Tests has revealed his disappintment at being dropped from the England Captaincy but vows to make himself better and return back one day. Having been forced to watch the games from the England Rugby Hospitality Tickets instead of play them, Borthwick is determined.
But having had time to get over the shock of his demotion, the 30 year-old vowed to prove that Martin Johnson was wrong to cast him adrift and said he intended to leave the England manager no option but to recall him to the national squad next season. Borthwick, who has won 57 caps but missed last month’s tour of Australia and New Zealand because of the knee injury that ruled him out of England’s final Six Nations match against France in March, has been edged out of the squad because of the impressive performances produced by Courtney Lawes, Tom Palmer and Dave Attwood on the trip.
Borthwick was on honeymoon in Bali when Johnson phoned to tell him the bad news but he refused to criticise the England manager for the timing of the call, which he said left him feeling “incredibly unhappy”.
“Selection was announced on the Thursday and Johnno rang me a couple of days before to make sure I didn’t find out any other way,” Borthwick told The Daily Telegraph.
“I have to respect Johnno for doing that and in showing me the respect to give me that call. Where I was in the world and what I was doing was entirely up to me. He can’t control that.
“I was incredibly unhappy but I was certainly not going to dwell on those emotions because they are not good emotions to have. It is up to me to train, get myself in good condition and play good rugby.”
Saracens rugby director Brendan Venter says the Soane Tonga’uiha ordeal will not overshadow Sunday’s Premiership play-off semi-final with Northampton.
The 28-year-old Tonga prop pulled out of a deal to move to Vicarage Road and decided to stay with Saints.
Venter told BBC Three Counties Radio: “What’s done is done. We know that it was the right move that he didn’t come in the end.
“We don’t even think about Soane anymore. It’s irrelevant.”
Tonga’uiha’s collapsed move to Vicarage Road intensified the rivalry between the clubs with Saracens accusing Northampton of bringing the game into disrepute.
But Venter is intent on concentrating on his own side’s recent form, having just won at Leicester for the first time in 33 visits.
“There’s a great belief in our team at the moment. We’ll do the same things, just even better,” he said.
“I think we must be able to compete with Northampton in all facets.
Saracens are in discussions to play at Regent’s Park, turning it into a temporary 10,000-seat home.
The club broke the mould by staging four matches at Wembley this term and have held meetings with the Royal Parks Agency about using the central London site.
Saracens want to play two games and a Sevens tournament in one of the most famous green areas in Britain next season as part of an ambitious bid to turn a predicted £3million operating loss into a profit in the next three years.
The club attract less than 10,000 for regular home games at Vicarage Road but pulled in more than four times that amount for each of the Wembley games and hope to build on that interest with their latest unique venture.
Sarries chief executive Edward Griffiths said: “We’ve looked at using venues where people would never have thought of staging matches, including Regent’s Park. We’ve had talks with the Royal Parks Agency about putting up a 10,000-seat stadium and the major barrier that has to be overcome is the cost of doing that for a three-week period. We would want to make it a stadium that could be also used for a community Sevens tournament.”