• Rhodes extends Saracens stay

    South African forward Michael Rhodes has put pen to paper on a one-year contract to extend his stay with English side Saracens until the end of 2021.

    The former Sharks, Stormers and Lions forward, who arrived in north London in 2015, has signed a one-year deal.

    He featured 27 times in his debut season at Sarries, helping Mark McCall’s side to a historic European and domestic double.

    The following season Rhodes starred in the Men in Black’s successful Champions Cup defence and his efforts were recognised by his teammates as he was crowned Players’ Player of the Year.

    A popular figure within the squad and with supporters, the 32-year-old is just seven games away from making his 100th appearance for Saracens – looking forward to be back on the field after a long-term back injury.

    ‘I feel very privileged to have added another year to my contract here,’ Rhodes said. ‘It’s a place my family and I have really come to love over the past six years. We’ve obviously had some really good seasons; I’ve made a lot of good friends and I’ve just really enjoyed the way things are at the club.

    ‘I want to put emphasis on actually enjoying my rugby. This season has been a long one; I’ve only been able to play one game so far and hopefully I get a couple more under my belt.’

    Saracens director of rugby McCall was thrilled with the news that Rhodes had decided to stay.

    ‘He has played an invaluable role in our progression over the last five years and his experience and competitive spirit will be crucial for the challenge ahead,’ McCall said.

    ‘Mike has shown great dedication to return from a serious injury and we are looking forward to see him back doing what he does best.’

    FACE OFF: Picking a new local favourite

    Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images