European and English champions Saracens called a halt to their pursuit of Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth on Wednesday, writes Sport24
The Premiership club had held talks with Stormers star Etzebeth over the possibility of signing him on a short-term basis once South Africa’s tour of Europe is over.
Alistair Hargreaves’ recent retirement due to concussion has left Saracens exposed in the second row, but director of rugby Mark McCall revealed Etzebeth will not be providing a temporary solution.
“I don’t think that will happen. Alistair has retired and we are looking for somebody who is available and eligible and they’re quite difficult to find at this time of year,” McCall said.
“We’ve been exploring a couple of options and Etzebeth was one of them, but that looks like it won’t happen.
“Signing him would have solved a problem until the end of January, but after that we’d have had to find a different solution.
“It’s very hard to find someone who is good enough, who is available to get into this country and who is also out of contract.
“There are some second rows who become available at the end of January so we thought we’d get a double solution, but it doesn’t look like it will happen.”