England and Saracens lock Maro Itoje has revealed that he intends to spend at least a year of his career abroad.
The 25-year-old has spent his career at Saracens but revealed ahead of this weekend's Champions Cup that he plans to spend at least a season away from Saracens in a move that would make him unavailable for England - but not before helping to restore Saracens to their former glories.
Itoje was rumoured to have been offered a loan move to Racing 92, which fell through, and the second-rower has since committed to spending next season in the Championship with Saracens. He, however, could still embark on a short-term loan to a Super Rugby side after next year’s Six Nations and before the British & Irish Lions tour but Itoje is eyeing a longer-term spell away from England to broaden his horizons.
“I think at some stage in my life I would love to play abroad,” Itoje says. “I think I’ve had a great life and I’m very privileged to play the sport that I love and experience the things that I have experienced. But experiencing a different culture, a different style, just a different vibe…
“I’ve lived in north-west London for the majority of my life, it’s a lovely place to live and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in England. At the same time it would be great to experience something else further down the line.”
"I don’t really want to pigeon-hole myself into a specific region but when the time is right I’d love to spend at least a season somewhere.”
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“Do they play rugby in Barbados? I might play there,” he jested when asked which country he might like to go to.
“I’m fairly open to where the future holds. I don’t really want to pigeon myself into a certain region or a place… but when the time is right I would love to spend at least a season somewhere.”