Apr 02, 2015
A Foot in Both Camps - Racing Metro
With Saracens traveling to Paris to face Racing Metro 92 in the European Champions Cup quarter final on Sunday, we take a look back at two players who have pulled on the black and red jersey of Saracens and the sky and white of Racing.
This week we take a look at former Sarries wing Dan Scarbrough and former club captain, Simon Raiwalui.
Dan Scarbrough - 'Scabs'
Joining Saracens in the summer of 2004 from Leeds Tykes, the capture of Dan Scarbrough alongside other proven home-grown quality such Alex Sanderson and Hugh Vyvyan was seen as the beginning of a shift of focus at Vicarage Road, from perennial under achievers to a combative and competitive side.
Scarbrough joined the then Watford-based side from Leeds in 2004: "Dan is a very talented player and boasts an impressive try-scoring record," said the Saracens head coach, Rod Kafer in March 2004. "We've beaten off competition from a number of other clubs to sign him."
Dan would top the try-scoring charts in his second season with the club and was capped twice by England, during his time with the club, on England’s tour to South Africa in 2007.
A Sevens international and Saxons regular, Scarbrough could cover both wing and fullback and made 79 appearances for the Men in Black, scoring 17 tries in a four-year stint with the club.
Upon his departure to Racing Metro, then Saracens director of rugby Eddie Jones said: “Dan has been a terrific servant to Saracens over the past four years and he's a great bloke to have around the club who works and trains very hard. We wish him all the best in the future."
The Bingley born flyer linked up with Racing, with the ambitious Parisian side still languishing in the French second division. Scarbrough joined a side still reeling from the disappointment of missing out on promotion in 2007-08, when the equally ambitious Toulon beat them to top spot, and Mont-de-Marsan defeated Racing in extra time in the play-off final.
The England international would help the sky & whites to the promised land of the Top 14, when they finished top of the second division. The former Leeds man played 25 times for Racing Metro in the Top 14 before moving to Lille in 2011. He would retire in 2013 to become a teacher back in his home county of Yorkshire.
Simon Raiwalui - The Fijian Giant
The Fijian giant lock forward was first introduced the English Premiership when he signed for John Mitchell’s Sale side. The 6ft7 second rower joined the Cheshire side in the summer 1997 and started all of his 40 Premiership games for Sales in a two season spell where he scored three tries.
Raiwalui moved to South Wales to play for Newport before signing for Saracens in 2003, to replace the outgoing Abdelatif Benazzi at lock. He would go on to make 114 appearances for Saracens and he also skippered the north Londoners in two spells as the club captain.
Upon joining the club in the summer of 2003, Raiwalui said: "Saracens is a club that I have always been interested in and I'm very pleased to be joining up with Wayne Shelford (Saracens coach) and the squad for next season. I want to get my head down, work hard and start getting the respect from the guys. I want to do well, and I want to do what I can to help the club be successful."
Raiwalui, capped 41 times was rated by All Black legend Shelford (although he would not coach Raiwalui after leaving before he arrived from Newport).
He said: "Simon is a big guy and top line out jumper. He also enjoys running with the ball and knows how to use his size.
"Coupled with this, he has shown at Newport and for Fiji that he has good leadership qualities which will be of use to us here. He will add solidity and power to the pack and will be another experienced player in the lock position. I'm sure that he'll be fantastic for us."
Raiwalui was a consistent and inspirational performer for the Men in Black in the heart of the Saracens pack. A well respected member of the Sarries dressing room, he made 48 appearances for Fiji, and won three caps for the Pacific Islands team.
“He’s one of the good guys: articulate, intelligent and humble, but with an agility and speed that is exceptional for such a massive man,” said Saracens Head Coach Alan Gaffney in 2006. “Simon seems to have no pain threshold. He plays through injuries that would put others out, heals quickly and has this capacity to play through pain.”
His inspiration was needed during a transitional period for the club. Raiwalui played under four different Head Coach’s in his time with the club but was a constant source of continuity and consistency during his time at Vicarage Road.
Upon leaving, the giant lock forward said: “I've made some great friends and I'd like to say thank-you to the directors, coaches, players and supporters who have made me feel very welcome over what has been an enjoyable four years.
"I will certainly be keeping up to date with all the matches and watching as many of them as I can on television. The Saracens result will always be the first I will look for and I will be cheering on from afar."
He joined Racing Metro in 2007, and helped the ambitious Parisians to promotion alongside former Sarrie, Dan Scarbrough.
He retired in 2010 to become the clubs' general manager. In the summer of 2014 he moved to city rivals Stade Francais as forwards coach.