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Saracens sign England-qualified Owen Farrell replacement Fergus Burke

Fergus Burke of the Crusaders celebrates after scoring a try during the round 10 Super Rugby Pacific match between Chiefs and Crusaders at FMG Stadium Waikato, on April 29, 2023, in Hamilton,
The 24-year-old Burke has previously played for New Zealand U20s - Getty Images/Hannah Peters

Saracens have confirmed the signing of Fergus Burke as a replacement for Owen Farrell and have revealed that the Crusaders fly half is England qualified.

As Telegraph Sport revealed last month, Saracens had lined up Burke to help fill the void that will be created by Farrell’s departure to Racing 92 this summer. Burke has signed a three-year contract with the North London club according to the Crusaders.

Burke has acted as an understudy to New Zealand fly-half Richie Mo’unga at the Crusaders and his loss has been described as “devastating” for the Canterbury franchise by former All Black outside back Israel Dagg. It might be an equal setback for the Scottish Rugby Union to discover that Burke is England qualified, through his mother, having had designs on him becoming a potential successor to Finn Russell with Glasgow Warriors also making an attempt to sign him.

Moving to Saracens would not preclude Burke from representing Scotland, but head coach Gregor Townsend will be conscious of losing the last tug-of-war over a dual qualified fly half in the case of Northampton’s Fin Smith. Yet that will be of little concern to Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall who has further bolstered his midfield options along with the arrival of former Wasps centre Sam Spink from Western Force.

“Fergus is a very exciting addition to our squad and the Gallagher Premiership,” McCall said. “His playing ability and potential is obvious and we have been hugely impressed by his ambition and desire to take his game to the next level. At 24, Fergus joins a group of players who we believe can take the club forward in the years to come.”

Farrell most recently commented on the support he has received since making his decisions to step away from the international future and to leave Saracens.

“Everyone has been really supportive. Everyone has been understanding. All they have done is offer support. When I sat down and spoke to people here [Saracens] and spoke to Steve and said my reasons for making the decision, they were really supportive,” he said.

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