In a bold move aimed at retaining top talents on home soil, Steve Borthwick, speaking to Sky Sports, emphasised the significance of England’s new captain, Jamie George, securing the first RFU hybrid contract.
The announcement came as Borthwick unveiled the squad for the 2024 Six Nations, revealing that Saracens’ hooker George had committed to a groundbreaking two-year contract with both Saracens and the RFU, marking the initiation of a novel hybrid contract system.
England has witnessed the departure of key players like Henry Arundell, Joe Marchant, and David Ribbans to French clubs post the Rugby World Cup, rendering them ineligible under the current selection criteria.
Speculation has also surrounded the potential move of former England captain Owen Farrell to Racing 92 in Paris.
Borthwick acknowledged that George had been presented with various options to leave England, making the 33-year-old’s decision to sign the hybrid contract “a big statement” and “a really important step.” This move is seen as an effort to prevent the drain of top talent to overseas clubs.
Looking ahead, the focus shifts to the potential signing of hybrid contracts by other players, with 25 individuals identified as likely candidates based on the current rugby landscape.
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25 players to likely receive central contracts:
1. Ellis Genge
2. Dan Cole
3. Jamie George
4. Theo Dan
5. Will Stuart
6. Joe Marler
1. Maro Itoje
2. Ollie Chessum
3. George Martin