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Saracens Lions react to today’s squad announcement

Owen Farrell

Six Saracens players have been included in the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, the largest Club representation of the 2017 tour.

Previous Lions tourists Owen Farrell and Mako Vunipola will be joined by their Saracens and England teammates Jamie George, George Kruis, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola.

Here the #Sarries6 reaction to today’s news:

Owen Farrell

“I’m chuffed for everyone who is involved but also disappointed for a few lads who aren’t (involved) as well, but it’s brilliant (to be one of six Saracens included). A lot of us are around the same age, we’ve come through the ranks at Saracens together, so it’s even more exciting that we hopefully get to share this opportunity.”

“We still have a lot of rugby to play here at the club, but when this season is over at Saracens it will be very exciting to look forward to the tour.”

Jamie George

“It was pretty surreal to be honest, it’s not something I ever even dreamed of as a kid because it was so far out of the realms of my ambitions.”

“It’s just an incredible honour and I’m so happy to be doing it with the other lads. It’s great to be on the tour, it’ll be a nervous time the first week or so but it’ll make all the difference having the other guys around me. Obviously, the likes of Owen and Mako have been there and done it so I can sort of pick their brains about how it works and what I need to do. It’s just incredible for the club and everyone involved but it’s disappointing for some of the other lads who deserved it as much as we did but it’s brilliant and it’s great to be doing it with those guys.”

Maro Itoje

“I feel pretty good. No matter when you start playing rugby or how long you’ve played rugby, you want to be part of the British & Irish Lions – I’m absolutely over the moon to have the opportunity to do so.  I’m also extremely happy that a number of other guys from the club have also made it and that we’ll be out there together as a strong force.

“It means a lot (to be selected alongside five other Saracens). These are guys I’ve played a lot of rugby with, grown up with, at the beginning of career watching them play and train, and now I’m fortunate to play and train alongside these world class players. To be alongside them is real honour for me and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.

“At Saracens, we have a great academy system, the coaches that we have are absolutely phenomenal and there’s a real team spirit. Everyone’s pushing each other and looking to get better, but the most important thing is we look to have fun whilst we’re doing it. We’re a positive club and we make sure we enjoy ourselves.

George Kruis

“I was pretty nervous, we watched the announcement with 40/50 lads in the team room screaming and shouting, so yeah a massive achievement. I think if you look at the squad and everything like that, a lot of work has gone into the way producing talent and then holding onto it so, huge credit to everyone at Saracens.

“It’s huge, I’m happy not just for myself but for the other lads who’ve made it. We’re extremely happy that a good group of us has made it, we’ve been building something here for a long time and put a lot of hard work into it, so it’s just right that the lads are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Mako Vunipola

“It’s very special to share special occasions with your friends and family, so I’m delighted to be going.

“At Sarries, we talk about special bonds and forging close relationships. We have a really tight-knit group and the celebrations when the lads were named in the squad really proved that. We enjoy being around each other and sharing those kind of moments together as a group.

“It’s amazing to have so many from one club, and every player who has been selected is there on merit.  I’m delighted to be in the squad but I’m even happier to be amongst the other guys picked alongside me. There’s obviously a few lads disappointed in the group but we still have a big season ahead of us to rally around each other. We’re just thankful that the first step has been made ahead of a big few weeks for all of us.”

Billy Vunipola

“I was pretty nervous, they called my brother out first but I think I was just overjoyed that I managed to sneak into the squad. Obviously, there’s a lot of hard work between now and then but I’m just happy that I’m in the initial squad and we’ll see how we get on from there.

“A massive amount of credit has to go to everyone here, from Nigel (Wray) all the way down to the players. As well as the staff, people like yourself are what make this club special and I’m just happy to be involved with such a great club and to have as many players as we have from the same club in the Lions squad is a massive honour and hopefully if we’re there we can make a massive impact and just carry on going forward.

“It’s a huge testament to the work that goes on here and all the coaches here run a great ship. It’s a tight ship but it’s fun and we turn up and work hard when we need to work hard but we also have fun when we’re allowed the time so we have a great balance. We have great coaches, we have great players and we have great people so it’s not really a surprise to me to see as many people in there as we have today and hopefully, like I said, we can make an impact when we get there.

“It’s massive for everyone that’s in the Lions squad, I don’t know everyone who’s going to be there but I remember watching it four years ago. It’s always been a goal for myself so for everyone in the squad it’s a massive honour, not just for us Saracens players but for everyone else. We can’t play it down but we can’t play it up as much there’s a lot of the season left and a lot of big games”

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