Maro Itoje to be offered central contract from RFU after huge bids from France - Ruck

Maro Itoje to be offered central contract from RFU after huge bids from France

Saracens are going all out to beat the clock, determined to secure new deals for their star players whose contracts are poised to expire at the end of the season – according to a report from The Rugby Paper.

One prominent figure in this contractual tug-of-war is none other than England’s lock sensation, Maro Itoje, who also happens to be one of the highest earners in the squad. With Itoje’s contract edging closer to its conclusion, speculation is rife about potential moves to rugby strongholds in France and Japan.

Itoje’s current pay packet places him among the Premiership’s elite, with an annual haul of approximately £800,000. But insiders suggest he’s eyeing a raise that would put him on equal footing with none other than Scotland’s star fly-half, Finn Russell – the reigning league’s top earner, banking an impressive £1 million.

Adding intrigue to the mix, Itoje has dropped hints about an overseas adventure if the domestic scene doesn’t pan out as desired. Racing 92, known for their admiration of Itoje, maintain a solid relationship with the agent of this seasoned England player. Stay tuned for the contract showdown that could shape the future of Saracens and Maro Itoje.

In his words, ‘Well, I think first and foremost I love playing for Saracens, I love Saracens, and in an ideal world, I would love to spend the majority, if not the entirety, of my career at Saracens,’ Itoje expressed.

Maro Itoje of Saracens during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final Match between Leicester Tigers and Saracens at Twickenham Stadium on 18 June 2022. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

‘Saracens is a club that I have cherished being a part of. I want to remain here, stay in England, and continue playing rugby on English soil. I believe that’s beneficial for the sport, having English players competing in England. It’s advantageous for the game to have a thriving Premiership with English talent at its core. I see this as a win-win situation for all parties involved.

‘Unfortunately, at the moment, we find ourselves in a situation where this is not the case due to various reasons. Several regulations and requirements are making it increasingly challenging for English players to stay in England.’

According to The Times, the RFU are reportedly looking to sort a centralised contract agreement for Itoje, who they see as one of England’s major stars.

Other players believed to be approaching the end of their contracts include Jamie George, as well as Billy and Mako Vunipola.


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.”