The Mail Online reports that the RFU is prepared to intervene to secure Maro Itoje’s continued participation with Saracens and the England rugby team.
Itoje is in line to receive one of the inaugural hybrid contracts from the English rugby governing body, aiming to prevent him from joining the growing trend of players leaving Premiership clubs.
Due to salary cap restrictions, Saracens has reduced Itoje’s contract offer from approximately £825,000 per year to £425,000.
In response, the RFU is poised to step in by proposing a hybrid contract that includes an additional £150,000, bringing the total to around £575,000, in an effort to safeguard Itoje’s future in the sport.
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Greatest rugby union XV of all-time:
15. Serge Blanco (France)
The French icon’s international career with France saw the flamboyant fullback perform various outlandish levels of skill while winning Five Nation Grand Slams in 1981 and 1987 as well as four further titles.
Blanco was a threat from everywhere on the field and often took risks that we very rarely see nowadays. In total, he won 93 caps for France during his 11-year international career between 1980 and 1991, which was a record when he retired.
He also scored an imposing 233 points and is a true legend of the sport.
Did you know: Images of Blanco’s on-field heroics can always be viewed ironically alongside images of him strutting along the touchline nursing a cigarette.
Honourable mentions: JPR Williams (Wales), Jason Robinson (England), Percy Montgomery (South Africa)
14. Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)
The New Zealander remains the joint all-time top try scorer at the Rugby World Cup along with Bryan Habana, crossing the whitewash on 15 different occasions across the 1995 and 1999 tournaments.
The easiest selection in a greatest ever XV.
Originally of Tongan descent, it was Lomu who made it glamorous to be a big, bruising winger, even though his stature could have easily seen him fill in at centre or somewhere in the pack.
Much like the Juggernaut of the Marvel Universe, there wasn’t much that could stop Lomu once he’d gotten into a stride.
Did you know: In September 2009, Lomu took part in an amateur bodybuilding contest, finishing second in two categories
Honourable mentions: Bryan Habana (South Africa), Doug Howlett (New Zealand), Shane Williams (Wales)
13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
The former Ireland and British and Irish Lions Skipper Brian O’Driscoll was one of the most consistent performers in the world for over a decade.
He hung up his boots in 2014 after accumulating 133 caps for Ireland with a fantastic return of 245 points. In the emerald green, he triumphed in the Six Nations in 2009 (Grand Slam) and 2014 as well as being chosen as Player of the Tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
The Dublin-born is also the highest all-time Irish record try scorer with an incredible 46 scores, and also led his country more times than any other player.
Did you know: O’Driscoll was chosen as Player of the Tournament in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 RBS Six Nations Championships.
Honourable mentions: Jeremy Guscott (England), Will Greenwood (England), Frank Bunce (New Zealand)