Sarries recruitment drive snares Nieto
April 15, 2009
Carlos Nieto has become the latest signing for Saracens © Getty Images
Saracens have continued their recruitment drive for next season with the signing of Gloucester's Italian international prop Carlos Nieto and Fijian wing Michael Tagicakibau. Nieto has joined the Vicarage Road-based outfit after making 64 appearances for Gloucester over the past three seasons, while Tagicakibau follows his brother, London Irish wing Sailosi, into the Premiership from London Welsh.
Nieto and Tagicakibau follow English trio Michael Horak, prop Richard Skuse and scrum-half Kevin Barrett in to the squad for next season, with the much-publicised "South African revolution" having failed to materialise in the early throes of Sarries' player-recruitment drive.
Rather than a raft of Super 14 stars Saracens have thus far signed players with a great deal of experience and solidity. With rumours of their massive player cuts having been rubbished by CEO Edward Griffiths a different picture is emerging after thoughts of loan deals for Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger were suggested only a matter of months ago.
It was confirmed earlier this week that long-time servant Kevin Sorrell would be staying at the club although Kris Chesney, the club's most capped player in the professional era, will be leaving for Toulon at the end of the season.
While former coach Eddie Jones left after an apparent disagreement with the path that the club was taking and the heavy investment in their future from South Africa, incoming director of rugby Brendan Venter clearly has his own views on the type of players that he wants to take the club forward with.
"We are really delighted to have signed Carlos, a top class tight-head who has proved his quality at club and international level," said Venter. "We looked long and hard for the right man with right work ethic. In Carlos, we have found a player who is widely respected in the game and, importantly, who is tried and tested in the Guinness Premiership."
Nieto's signing had earlier been hinted at by Griffiths, who maintained in the face of mounting press speculation that there would be no mass overhaul at Saracens.
"There is no revolution unfolding at Saracens," he said. "There is an evolution from the mid-table team of recent years into one of the leading clubs in Europe. Much has been said and written about the club in the past six weeks, and most of it has been wildly inaccurate and untrue. There has been no boardroom takeover. There will be no mass influx of South Africans. The club will shortly announce 10 new signings for next season - some English, some Italian and some South African."
In the blink of an eye, a winger can go from a hero to villain. Hugh Godwin talks to Zac Guildford and David Strettle about life on the flank
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup