Saracens boss Mark McCall insists his England stars will be in good shape for the Lions this summer despite a low-key build-up in rugby’s second-tier Championship.
After England’s worst Six Nations for 45 years, the Sarries contingent now face up to 10 Championship matches to not only secure promotion but prove their worth to Lions coach Warren Gatland.
On Maro Itoje and Co’s Lions prospects, McCall said: ‘They’re going to be playing their rugby at our club, playing in games that have some meaning to them.
Saracens’ England stars will be ready to roar with the Lions this summer, says Mark McCall
‘If any of them — and we expect a lot of them — get selected to go on the Lions tour they’re going to be rugby-ready by the end of it.’
McCall is set to pick a handful of his internationals for Sunday’s trip to semi-professional Richmond.
Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola are unlikely to be fit in time, after head knocks against Ireland in Dublin, but Itoje, Jamie George, Elliot Daly and Mako Vunipola could all turn out at the Athletic Ground in south-west London.
Sarries contingent now also face up to 10 second-tier matches to not only secure promotion but prove their worth to Lions coach Warren Gatland (pictured)
Owen Farrell is unlikely to be fit in time to play, after a head knock against Ireland in Dublin
‘You’ll see a few playing this weekend, and everybody playing from then on,’ added McCall on his Test stars.
‘We’re in a very short competition. We lost our first game to Cornish Pirates and don’t have a lot of margin for error now.
‘The international players have been brilliant, they want to come back, roll their sleeves up and be part of it with their team-mates.’
Sarries will not loan more players out to get game time.