There have been a long list of incredible players who have represented Saracens. Out of all of these rugby legends, who is the most notable?
Who are the most notable players to have played for Saracens? Owen Farrell, Michael Lynagh, Schalk Burger and Francois Pienaar are some of the most famous players to have played for Saracens.
Considering all of the success that Saracens have had, it is no surprise that they have a very long list of brilliant players to have played for the team. In terms of fame, Owen Farrell might be the most famous player to have played for Saracens.
Owen Farrell has been the poster boy of English rugby for the last decade. It was his contributions to a successful Saracen’s team at such a young age that got Farrell into the England team at such a young age. Since his debut in 2012, Farrell has been a mainstay in
the England team, making over 100 appearances.
He is probably the most famous name in English Rugby at the moment considering his world-class performances over the last decade. With Saracen’s, Farrell has led the team to five Premiership titles as well as three European Champions Cup titles. He was nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year three times with Saracens.
He has often been club captain of Saracens, as well as being a huge help coaching off the field whenever he has been injured. A Saracen’s legend, Owen Farrell may go down as the best player to ever play for Saracens, likely already the most important player in the team’s history.
It could be argued that for a long time, Francois Pienaar was the most famous player to have ever represented Saracen’s. Pienaar was the Springbok’s captain when they won their first Rugby World Cup title in front of their home fans. Pienaar was the man who received the trophy from Nelson Mandela.
After he was exiled from the South African team, Pienaar joined Saracens where he finished off his career. With Sarries, Pienaar was both a player and a coach, being the head coach of the team from 1997 to 2002. He took them incredibly close to a Premiership title and was an incredibly big signing for the Watford-based side.
Another of the signings made after the injection of cash Saracen’s received, Francois Pienaar had a huge impact on Saracens on and off the pitch. He is an iconic rugby figure, having been the man who lifted the Rugby World Cup trophy for the Springboks in front of their home fans in 1995.
But Pienaar was frozen out of the team not long after that world cup success and so looked for moves out of South Africa. To take advantage of the money streaming into rugby through professionalism, Pienaar accepted a contract with Saracen’s.
The Springbok legend did not just sign as a player but as a player-coach. He ended up being the head coach of the team for five years and brought Saracen’s close to success. Under his leadership, they won the Pilkington Cup, as well as finishing second in the league. Pienaar was able to consistently get Saracen’s into the top level of European competition.
He was actually the team’s CEO after retiring from playing in 2000. But the team went through a couple of difficult years and so he stepped down as coach in 2002. Despite that, Pienaar is still involved with the club today. He was part of the consortium which purchased the team in 2022.
When Saracens had a huge injection of cash, one of their headline signings was Michael Lynagh. He was the first major signing after the injection of cash from Nigel Wray. Lynagh is an Australian Rugby legend.
He was the vice-captain of the Australian team that won the 1991 Rugby World Cup, kicking the winning points as Australia beat England 12-6. In total, he played 72 times for his country and when he retired from international rugby in 1995, he was the international all-time leading scorer.
After five years with Benetton in Italy, Lynagh joined Saracen’s in 1996 thanks to the money streaming into rugby through professionalism. While the Australian legend only played two full seasons with Saracen’s, he made a huge impact on the team. He helped them get close to their first league title.
He was also part of the team which won the Tetley’s Bitter Cup. A Saracen’s legend, I’m sure he will have mixed feelings about his son Louis currently playing for Saracen’s cross-town rivals, Harlequins.
Saracen’s have always been able to bring in some big players, both figuratively and literally. Schalk Burger was one of those men. While Saracen’s did sign Burger when he was 33, they were still getting a player with an incredible record both domestically and internationally.
He was a crucial part of the South African team which won the 2007 Rugby World Cup. In total he would make 84 appearances for the Springboks, scoring 13 tries in that time. He was IRB Player of the Year in 2004, as well as being named South African Rugby Player of the Year twice.
Saracens may have been getting a player who was at the back end of his career, but Burger still had a big impact on the team. He came off the bench in both the 2017 and 2019 Champions Cup Finals.
Who has made the most appearances for Saracen’s?
Alex Goode is the player who has currently made the most appearances for Saracen’s. The versatile back has been with the London side since 2006, making his first team debut just a couple of years later.
He has only spent one season away from the team, on loan in Japan while Saracen’s were in the Championship. He has made over 350 appearances for the side and has been there for all of the team’s successes in the last decade. He has also rarely been called up by England, which is why he has so many appearances for Saracens.