"Exciting prospect" - Saracens sign yet another fly-half to replace departing Owen Farrell - Ruck

“Exciting prospect” – Saracens sign yet another fly-half to replace departing Owen Farrell

Saracens Rugby Club has secured a significant signing, with Louie Johnson set to join from Newcastle Falcons on a long-term deal.

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The 20-year-old fly-half, who also demonstrates prowess at full-back, emerges from the Falcons academy and has already made notable strides in the Gallagher Premiership.

Johnson’s debut for the Falcons in March 2022 left a lasting impression, particularly when he clinched victory with a nerveless conversion in the dying moments against Leicester Tigers.

His pedigree extends to representing England at the Under 20s level, notably starting in the World Championship semi-final against France last year.

Expressing his enthusiasm about the move to the capital, Johnson remarked, “I’m incredibly excited and grateful to be joining such a prestigious club. Saracens is full of world-class players and coaches, and I can’t wait to learn from them.”

Mark McCall, the Director of Rugby at Saracens, hailed Johnson’s signing as a significant boost for the club. “Louie has shown considerable promise so early in his career, and we were very impressed with the maturity with which he handled his exposure to both Premiership and European competition.

“We are confident that we can help him fulfill his clear potential in the years to come.”

Nigel Owens selects his all-time rugby dream team

Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia)

Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.

“But I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh he is one of the best under the high ball.

“It’s a toss of a coin for me… and it’s come down in Folau’s favour.”

Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.

“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”

Fixtures for the Six Nations - Round 1

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”

Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Owens said: “He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.

“What a player, mind, too. One of the stalwarts of the New Zealand side for so many years.”

Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)

Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.

“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”