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Saracens confirm Vunipola's season is over due to injury

Credit: PA

Mako Vunipola will miss the climax to Saracens' pursuit of the double after being ruled of the rest of the season by a significant hamstring injury.

Vunipola lasted just half an hour of the Champions Cup final victory over Leinster on Saturday before being forced off alongside fellow prop Titi Lamositele, who will also miss the Gallagher Premiership title push.

A date for Vunipola's return has yet to be confirmed, but Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall insists the British and Irish loosehead will be available for England's World Cup campaign.

"Mako has a torn hamstring. We're waiting to see exactly what happens with that, but I very much doubt he'll play again this season. Nether will Titi," McCall said.

"Mako won't be out of the World Cup, but he'll be out for a while. It's quite a significant injury.

"It's disappointing to lose two players of that quality and it makes us a little bit vulnerable."

Vunipola, who is considered the game's standout loosehead, missed a large chunk of the Six Nations with an ankle injury and then suffered another injury to the same joint that resulted in an aborted comeback.

The showdown with Leinster in Newcastle was only his second match since the Championship rout of France in mid-February.


Farrell remains a doubt for Champions Cup quarter-final

Credit: PA

Owen Farrell will be given until Friday to prove his fitness for Saracens' Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster but Billy Vunipola has been ruled out of the trip to Dublin.

Farrell is struggling with a quad injury he suffered in England's final NatWest 6 Nations match against Ireland and only returned to light training on Wednesday with Alex Lozowski on standby to deputise.

Vunipola had been pencilled in to make his comeback from the fractured arm sustained in January at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday but remains a couple of weeks away from full fitness.

"We'll make a decision on Owen on Friday. His chances are probably 50-50. Billy won't be available," Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said.


George signs long-term contract extension with Saracens

The British and Irish Lions Test hooker will stay at Allianz Park until 2021. Credit: PA

British and Irish Lions Test hooker Jamie George has signed a long-term contract extension with Saracens.

Saracens, the reigning European champions and current Aviva Premiership leaders, said the England international's deal will keep him at Allianz Park until 2021.

George, 26, made his first-team debut for the club in 2009. He has won 17 England caps and started all three Tests for the Lions in New Zealand this summer.

Saracens dominate Leicester in Premiership crunch clash

Saracens prop Mako Vunipola on the charge against Leicester. Credit: PA

Saracens piled fresh misery on to title rivals Leicester by cruising to a 24-10 Aviva Premiership victory at Allianz Park.

The Tigers responded to a heavy defeat in Europe to Glasgow by dispatching Racing 92 last Sunday, but they have now ended a week in which they lost Australia star Matt Toomua for six months because of a knew injury by succumbing in north London.

Chris Wyles, Sean Maitland and Billy Vunipola crossed to cement Saracens' position at the summit of the Premiership table with Owen Farrell landing a penalty and three conversions.

Mako Vunipola produced another dynamic, all-action display that bodes well for England's forthcoming autumn series, although his copybook was blotted by a yellow card for felling Freddie Burns with his shoulder.

Leicester reacted to Mako Vunipola's absence by finally sounding a note of defiance and were rewarded with a try from George Catchpole, but it arrived far too late to threaten the reigning Premiership and European champions.

Ashton to leave Saracens for Toulon

Chris Ashton is on the move. Credit: PA

Winger Chris Ashton will leave Saracens to join Toulon at the end of the season it has been announced.

I’d like to put on record my thanks to Mark McCall, Nigel Wray and the whole team at Saracens for the manner in which they have dealt with my request to join Toulon next season. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Allianz Park and I have made so many special memories on and off the field.

I have developed as a player during my time with Sarries but more importantly I have developed as a person, and I will always be indebted to the Club for that.

There is a tremendous culture at Saracens and the bond between everyone here is very tight. It will be a real wrench for me to leave all that behind at the end of the season but I’m looking forward to a new challenge at Toulon next year. My focus now is helping the squad prepare for Leicester Tigers on Saturday, contribute to the side when I return to action later this year and hopefully make a few more memories together in a black and red shirt.

– Chris Ashton

Former Saracens captain retires following concussion injury

Saracens lock forward Alistair Hargreaves has retired from rugby following a concussion injury.

The 30-year-old made 79 appearances for Sarries after joining the club from Super Rugby franchise Sharks in 2012.

South Africa international Hargreaves has retired. Credit: PA

In his first season as club captain the South Africa international led Saracens to the Premiership title in the 2014-15 season.

Hargreaves, who won four international caps for the Springboks, told "It's been a very tough decision to make. I've suffered a number of concussions in the last two seasons and after seeking medical advice I've come to the conclusion that the risk is outweighing the reward.

"I have a young family, I have to make decisions that are right by them and although this was a hard decision for me personally it's one that I feel is the right one to make.

"My period at Saracens has been the best four years of my life - It's been an absolutely phenomenal time. Everyone at Allianz Park; the players, the coaches, the backroom team and the fans, have all contributed to this incredible experience.

"It's an experience that I didn't expect when I arrived, but I leave as a Saracens man to the core. My time in South Africa was fantastic, it was great to play for the Sharks and be capped by the Springboks but this time at Saracens has been my highlight."

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