Jun 21, 2017
Past Players to return to Allianz Park for Legends game
They’ll be plenty of familiar faces taking part in an all-star game at Allianz Park on Friday 30th June (8.15pm) in support of Restart Rugby, the official charity of the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA).
Organised by former Saracens’ Matt Stevens and David Strettle, the Worldwide Currencies Cup game will raise vital funds for Restart Rugby and awareness for the #LiftTheWeight mental health campaign. A side captained by Saracens’ legendary scrum half Neil de Kock will take on a #LiftTheWeight XV with players from England, Australia, South Africa and Wales joining the ranks, including Justin Harrison, Michael Owen, and John Smit.
We take a closer look at the former Saracens players confirmed to play:
Gerald Arasa (Saracens 1999-2003)
Kenyan born Gerald Arasa played for Saracens at the turn of the century, making 32 appearances for the Club between 1999-2003. A fleet-footed wing, Asara also represented England 7s, Newport Dragons, Cornish Pirates and London Welsh during his playing days.
Noah Cato (Saracens 2006-2011)
Electric wing Noah Cato made 63 appearances for the Men in Black over a five-year period and was a member of the squad that lifted the club’s maiden Premiership title in 2011. Cato came through the club’s academy system alongside current Sarries star Alex Goode and represented England at U20s 7s and Saxons level, before moves to Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons later in his career.
Neil de Kock (Saracens 2006-2017)
No one can lay claim to the mantle of the best Saracens import more than Neil de Kock. The legendary Sarries halfback gave 11-years stellar service to the Men in Black where he made 263 appearances, also captaining the club for spell. He won three Premiership’s and two European Cup’s in his memorable career in the UK after he arrived at Vicarage Road from South Africa’s Stormers Super Rugby side in 2006. A bonified Saracens legend.
Danny Grewcock (Saracens 1997-2001)
After a two-year spell at hometown club Coventry, England and British & Lions lock forward Danny Grewcock moved south to sign for Saracens. He played 90 times for Men in Black during a transformative period for club, in which they swapped the humble surroundings of the club’s spiritual home of Bramley Road for the Watford FC’s Vicarage Road.
An abrasive, physical player, Grewcock was a key member of Saracens 1998 Tetley’s Bitter Cup win at Twickenham in the club’s glory days of early professionalism, he moved to Bath in the summer of 2001 as Saracens struggled to keep hold of their star names during a tumultuous offseason. During his time at Bath he picked up a World Cup winners medal with England, and toured Australia and New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions in 2001 & 2005.
Nils Mordt (Saracens 2010-2016)
Nils Mordt brought with him a wealth of experience and the ability to play across the backline when he signed for Saracens in the 2010/11 season. He played an important role in the club reaching the semi-finals of the Premiership in the 2011/12 campaign as he deputised at fly half with Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson performing with England at the Six Nations. Most notably, Mordt helped lead a young Saracens side to Anglo-Welsh Cup glory in 2015 – he made 57 appearances for the Men in Black.
Michael Owen (Saracens 2008-2010)
Michael Owen joined Saracens in the summer of 2008, from Welsh region Newport-Gwent Dragons. A skilful and classy No.8, Owen starred for Pontypridd after making his debut in 1997, before going on to play a pivotal role in Wales’ Grand Slam success of 2005. His move to Saracens was heralded as a new era for the club, with Eddie Jones drafting in the influential Welshman to Vicarage Road alongside England skipper, and future Premiership winning captain, Steve Borthwick.
Owen’s time was plagued by injury, only making 23 appearances in the Men in Black, but during the 2009 season his combination with then Sarries half-back Justin Marshall showed glimpses of the Welshman’s undoubted ability as a back-rower with the deftest of touches. Since his premature retirement in 2010 Owen has headed up the Haileybury Rugby Programme, the school where Saracens academy graduates Jamie George, Nick Isiekwe and Matt Hankin have all honed their skills in recent years.
Dan Scarbrough (Saracens 2004-2008)
Dan moved to Saracens from Leeds in 2004 and made his debut for the Men in Black against Wasps in the same year.
Having made his England debut in August 2003 v Wales in the World cup warm up match, he went on to win two caps for his country. A series of injuries reduced his appearances to just eight in that first season, but Dan played 40 games the next season as a wing/full-back and was the leading try scorer.
In all he made 77 appearances for Sarries scoring 17 tries before joining Racing Metro in 2008 where he helped the resurgent Parisians to the French D2 title.
Ben Skirving (1999-2009)
Ben Skirving, who won an England cap on the 2007 summer tour to South Africa, came through the Sarries ranks to make 155 appearances for the Men in Black.
He joined the club as 13-year old from local side Bishop’s Stortford before progressing through the Sarries academy system – he made his debut against Leeds in the 2002/03 season. He represented England at every level from U16-21 level and also made appearances for the then England A side and 7s teams.
Known for his industrious style of play, Skirving left Saracens in the summer of 2009 as the Club saw a sizeable turnover of players, he joined Bath before moving to Bristol later in his career.
John Smit (Saracens 2011-2013)
A Springbok legend who amassed an incredible 111 caps for his country joined Saracens in the summer of 2011 from Super Rugby franchise, The Sharks. One of South Africa’s most respected and revered figures, the inspirational hooker followed in the footsteps of another former Saracens South African, Francois Pienaar, in lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy for the Rainbow Nation after South Africa defeated England to be crowned World Champions in 2007 in Paris.
After a brief spell for ASM Clermont Auvergne he returned to Durban to his beloved Sharks where he brought down the curtain on a 11-year career with South Africa by signing a two-year deal with Saracens. Smit represented the north London club on 45 occasions before hanging up his boots in 2013.
Matt Stevens (2011-2014)
Prop Matt Stevens enjoyed a fine career at the height of the English game, winning 45 caps for England, playing the 2007 World Cup and touring with the British & Irish Lions in 2005 & 2013. The South African raised prop signed for Bath in 2002 and made 123 for the West Country side until he left the club in 2009.
He returned to the game after an enforced absence due to two-year ban from the rugby in 2011, he signed for Saracens where he become the cornerstone of the Men in Black’s powerful pack of forwards. He treated the Sarries faithful to some of his finest form of his career, which ended up in England international touring Australia with the British and Irish Lions in 2013. Stevens made 93 appearances for the Men in Black before spells with his hometown side Sharks in Durban and French giants Toulon.
David Strettle (2010-2015)
Signed from London rivals Harlequins in 2010, England international wing David Strettle treated Saracens to five stellar years of service. The former Rotherham and England 7s star burst onto the scene rugby scence, winning his first of his 14 caps for England in 2007 against Ireland at Croke Park, Dublin. A fleet-footed, deadly finisher, Strettle won two Premiership titles with the Men in Black, making 139 appearances, scoring 48 tries before moving across the channel to sign from French side ASM Clermont Auvergne in the summer of 2015.
Alongside another former Saracen, Matt Stevens, Strettle continues to have links with his old Club, with 7s and the City, a multi-sport festival, taking place at Allianz Park since 2014.