English Rugby has quite a few names not based on where the teams are based. These team names often have a lot of meaning and the exact meaning of Saracens is one of the ones not a lot of people know.
Why is the rugby club called Saracens? The name Saracens was chosen by the founders of the club as they say the name comes from the “endurance, enthusiasm and perceived invincibility of the Saracen Warriors of the 12th century”.
When the Old Boys of Philological School in Marylebone were looking to form a rugby club they were unsure on what to call the team. They looked around local clubs for inspiration and liked a name similar to Crusaders which was the name of a local rival at the time of the formation of the club.
The founders were looking for a name that struck fear into the opposition. They settled on naming the team after the 12th-century desert warriors. The term Saracen has had quite a few different meanings across the world. However, in England, it is mainly used to describe the desert warriors from the 12th century.
The Old Boys of the Philological School felt that they wanted to name their team after Saracens because of the reputation of Saracens. These warriors were led by Saladin and were also known for their extreme mobility and excellence in the desert.
Where are Saracens based?
Saracens Rugby Club are one of the professional teams that are not named after their location. So it does mean that a lot of people do not know where Saracens are currently based, particularly as they have changed location a few times in the team’s history.
Saracens are currently based in North-West London in North Hendon. Hendon is an area in the Borough of Barnet which is in North-West London. They currently play their home games at the StoneX Stadium which is based in Hendon. Saracens tend to do most of their training around the area as well.
Saracens don’t really need a training ground because the pitch of the StoneX Stadium is 3G which means it is not worn when players play on it and so the Saracens players can train on the pitch all week and still play a game on the weekend on that same pitch.
When did Saracens move to Allianz Park?
Back in 2010, Saracens were sharing a stadium with Watford Football Club at Vicarage Road. However, around this time the owners of the club activated a break clause in the contract between the two clubs. This meant that Saracens needed to find a home for the 2011-12 season and started to scramble.
Saracens looked at several different options for locations where they could play their rugby. The team was determined to remain in North London and were looking for the right opportunity. In November 2010 the team announced that they were speaking with Barnet Borough Council about the stadium at Barnet Copthall complex. The stadium was originally just an athletics stadium.
However, an agreement was put in place where Saracens would develop the stadium to put in 3,000 permanent seats and space for the total capacity of the stadium to hit 10,000. The major point of the deal was that the pitch would become the first artificial pitch in English Rugby.
The use of artificial pitches in rugby has become a lot more common over the last few years but Saracens were one of the first teams to introduce this. The deal was agreed however Saracens did not move to the stadium until 2012 due to delays in the project. Saracens played their home games of the 2011-12 season at Vicarage Road before moving to the Copthall Stadium in 2012.
Saracens Rugby’s best players
Saracens are one of the best rugby teams in Europe and that is down to having some star-studded players.
Maro Itoje is not only one of the best players for Saracens, but he is also looked at as one of the best rugby players in the world. The 28-year-old is the ultimate disruptor on a rugby pitch and is brilliant in pretty much all aspects of the game. Itoje is a huge asset in the lineout as well as being excellent over the ball.
A four-time Premiership champion, Itoje has also been a key part of three Six Nations titles with England and was voted Lions Player of the Series in his second tour with the team. The 2016 European Player of the Year is phenomenal and a huge part of why Saracens are successful.
At the moment, Ben Earl certainly looks like one of Saracens’ best and most consistent players. The flanker has been with the team since 2016 and is looking like the team’s best player. Earl was voted as the Premiership Rugby Player of the Year for the 2021-22 season and it is because he does so many things to an incredibly high level.
Earl is a monster in the carry and his fast feet and strong upper body mean he always makes metres when he’s got the ball and contributes with tries when needed. Earl is one of the hardest-working players whenever he steps on the pitch and always finishes near the top of the tackle charts.
It surely cannot be too long until Earl gets back into the England set-up as he has been brilliant for Saracens.
While a lot of Saracens’ success comes from salary cap breaches, Theo McFarland is an excellent example of the talent in their scouting department. The Samoan has come from pretty much nowhere to become one of the best players in the Premiership, with his only prior professional rugby experience being with the Dallas Jackals.
Saracens recruited him and McFarland has been phenomenal since. His dominance in the lineout has helped Saracens hugely and he is one of the best carriers in the Premiership, able to find the offload after a bruising carry. McFarland will be crucial to Saracens’ success going forward.