Saracens - Saracens announce academy contract extensions

Feb 01, 2017

Saracens announce academy contract extensions

Saracens are delighted to announce that they have extended the contracts of seven academy players.

Centre Tom Griffiths, prop forward Hayden Thompson-Stringer and half-back Tom Whiteley have all signed deals which will see them graduate from the Saracens academy to join the senior squad from the beginning of next season.  Prop Ralph Adams-Hale, wing or full-back Matt Gallagher, fly-half Max Malins and prop Billy Walker have all penned contract extensions with the club's senior academy.

Griffiths, Thompson-Stringer and Whiteley will follow in the footsteps of last year’s graduates Joel Conlon, Nathan Earle, Titi Lamositele and Henry Taylor in making the step-up from the academy to the senior squad.

Adams-Hale, Gallagher, Malins and Walker have worked their way up through Saracens youth system and have all been included in England U20s set-up. Gallagher, Malins and Walker having all made their debuts for the club this season with Adams-Hale unfortunately ruled out with injury.

“I’m very happy for all them,” said academy manager Don Barrell, “these lads have worked extremely hard to get where they are and we're excited to see them continue their development at the Club. There is another crop of players coming up, plus another crop after that, so at the minute the Youth system is looking really good.”

Director of rugby, Mark McCall; “Over the last seven-and-a-half years, our academy has been right at the heart of the development of the club. The likes of Jamie (George), Owen (Farrell), Will (Fraser), George (Kruis) and Jackson (Wray) have become mainstays in the first team and they’re now leaders of this group. Underneath them we have Maro Itoje, Nathan Earle and Nick Tompkins and hopefully this new batch will be around for a long time to come too.”

In Focus

Tom Griffiths – Centre

Originally a fly-half, he switched to centre while at school and has gone on to represent Saracens Storm throughout their A League campaign this season and has been on-loan at Championship outfit Bedford Blues for the last two seasons.

He is tipped to follow the likes of Will Fraser, Jackson Wray and Duncan Taylor of making the step up from Goldington Road to Allianz Park very soon and with the return of the Anglo-Welsh Cup he is one of many Saracens youngsters looking to make their mark on senior duty.

Tom Whiteley – Scrum-half/Fly-half

A livewire half-back, Tom Whiteley has continued to impress since his arrival at Saracens in 2014. Stints a Rosslyn Park and Bedford Blues have seen the former Millfield Student hone his talents as scrum-half with devastating acceleration and a box of tricks with ball in hand. A fierce competitor who punches above his weight, Whiteley has battled back from being passed over by Bath and Harlequins in his youth to find his home at Saracens.

Whiteley made his debut for Saracens in this seasons Anglo-Welsh Cup, crossing for try in the narrow defeat at Kingsholm.

Hayden-Thompson Stringer - Prop

Thompson-Stringer was part of the successful England under 20 Junior World Cup winning team in 2014 alongside Saracens teammates Joel Conlon, Maro Itoje, Nick Tompkins and Henry Taylor and is currently on dual registration with Bedford Blues.

After starting his career as a back rower his versatility is now being demonstrated as he coverts his favoured position to prop. Hayden started at loosehead earlier in the A-league last season and has a promising future ahead of him in the number one jersey.

Matt Gallagher – Wing/Full-back

An England Under 20 Junior World Cup winner, Gallagher made his Saracens debut in an assured performance on the wing away to Bristol in round five of the Aviva Premiership.

Currently dual registered with Bedford Blues, his try-scoring appearance on Friday away to Scarlets was his third start of the Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign, this time at full back showing his versatility in the back three.

Max Malins -  Fly-Half/Full-back

Another member of the England U20 Junior World Cup winning squad, Malins is a classy ball-player and has played at age-group international level at both fly-half and full-back. He made his Saracens debut in last week’s four-try win over Scarlets, showing some classy touches in an assured 55-minute cameo. A member of the current England U20 set-up alongside fellow Sarries Nick Isiekwe, back rowers Ben Earl and Jack Nay and Dom Morris, Malins is tipped to play a key role in England’s upcoming U20 Six Nations campaign.

Billy Walker – Prop

A tough prop who comes in to his own at the set-piece, Billy Walker lifted the Junior World Cup alongside his Saracens academy teammates Matt Gallagher, Max Malins and George Perkins last summer. Walker is another academy player to have made his Sarries debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and has enjoyed a good run in the A League.

Ralph Adams-Hale - Prop

An exciting prospect Adams-Hale is another promising prop forward coming through the Saracens ranks. A member of the England U20s EPS, a foot injury has ruled out Adams-Hale for a large chunk of the season but he is on the road to recovery. Mixing brains with brawn, Ralph is currently studying a Physics degree at King’s College alongside his rugby.

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