Springboks coach De Bruin quits ahead of World Cup

By Sports Desk August 14, 2019

Swys de Bruin has quit as South Africa attack consultant less than six weeks before the start of the Rugby World Cup.

De Bruin stepped down from his role for "personal and medical reasons" after a win over Argentina last weekend, which sealed a first Rugby Championship triumph for a decade.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said: "Swys made a great contribution to the squad in his time with us and I'd like to thank him on behalf of his fellow management and the players he has worked with in the past 12 months.

"He brought a fresh perspective to one facet of the game and he'll be hard to replace.

"I'd also like to thank the Lions for releasing him to us and SA Rugby for supporting his appointment."

Erasmus will weigh up his options before appointing a short-term replacement for De Bruin.

"This was not something we were expecting but our planning has been thorough and it's something we can manage," he added.

South Africa face the Pumas again at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, five weeks before taking on defending champions New Zealand in a blockbuster World Cup clash.

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    Saracens are facing up to a potential player exodus after the worst-kept secret in the Premiership was confirmed with the announcement the London club are to be relegated for breaching salary-cap regulations.

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    Six Saracens players started in England's Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa - including captain Owen Farrell - while Vincent Koch featured for the Springboks in that match.

    Meanwhile, Liam Williams, a regular for Wales in the tournament, has already started the departures, having agreed to rejoin Scarlets at the end of the season.

    Following the news of Saracens' impending relegation to the second tier, we take a look at the star names who seem destined to become available.

    Owen Farrell

    Sure to be in demand is England skipper Farrell has spent his entire senior career with Saracens, having made his debut aged 17 in 2008, becoming - at the time - the youngest player to appear in an English professional rugby union match. He has gone on to become one of the world's best players, winning the Six Nations twice with England as well as five Premiership titles and three Champions Cups with Saracens.

    Maro Itoje

    Having won four Premierships and three European Champions Cups at club level by the age of 25, Maro Itoje is expected to be a man in demand. The British and Irish Lion, who plays lock or blindside flanker, should still have his best years ahead of him but is already an established international player, having won two Six Nations trophies and helped England to the World Cup final last year as part of his 34 caps. He has spent his whole professional career at Saracens.

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    The elder Vunipola brother joined up with Saracens from Bristol in 2011 and has made 110 appearances, scoring 15 tries. He made his England debut in 2012 against Fiji and has been a key player for club and country ever since. 

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    Two years after his sibling had signed for Saracens, Billy Vunipola followed suit. He has played in 71 Premiership matches for Sarries, with 15 tries to his name and has featured in just 11 defeats. Internationally, he has made 51 Test appearances for England.

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    The versatile back - who has featured in 42 Tests for England - only joined Saracens from Wasps in 2019 ahead of the current Premiership season. He has scored 13 tries for England and one in four Premiership appearances so far for Saracens.

    Jamie George

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    Vincent Koch

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    Will Skelton

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    Northampton did all they could to advance as runners-up with a 36-24 victory at Top 14 high-flyers Lyon in Pool 1.

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    Sarries, who won the English top flight and the European Champions Cup last season, were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for breaching salary cap regulations in each of the past three seasons.

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    "At the conclusion of dialogue with Saracens about their compliance with the salary cap regulations, it has been decided that Saracens will be relegated at the end of this season."

    Childs added: "The actions that we have taken – dealing with breaches of the current regulations and reviewing the system for the future – will help us to build a stronger league and uphold the confidence of supporters."

    Six Saracens players started for England in their World Cup final loss to South Africa in November, including captain Owen Farrell, but a star-studded line-up now looks certain to be broken up.

    On Sunday, Sarries face Racing 92 in the Champions Cup, where victory will virtually secure progress to the knockout stages.

    Farrell is joined in the starting XV by England colleagues Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola, and a run in this season's tournament is likely to be a last hurrah for this collective.

    Even if they win Europe's top competition for the fourth time in their last five attempts, Saracens' Championship status will mean they are barred from entering next year.

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