Sarries suffer Cairns injury blow
December 19, 2007

Saracens Director of Rugby Alan Gaffney has been dealt a blow ahead of Saturday's trip to Harlequins with the news that hooker Matt Cairns will be out of action for three months.

The England international left the field after just three minutes of the Heineken victory in Viadana last weekend and has since undergone surgery on a fractured arm.

"It's a blow for him and the squad," explained Gaffney. "It's very disappointing news to lose a player like him but it's something we're going to have to deal with. Clearly, it will make things difficult down the track in terms of numbers if, as expected, Fabio Ongaro makes the Italian Six Nations squad.

During that period we're expecting to be without the two of them so that may be something we'll have to look at."

"He needed surgery and they inserted a metal plate and screws to help the healing process and as a result, when he comes back the bone will be a lot stronger because of that."

Saracens return to Guinness Premiership action on Saturday at The Stoop to face Harlequins - a side without a win in their past seven matches.

But Gaffney knows that returning to Premiership action on home soil means that Dean Richards' side will be fired up going in the game.

"They've had some recent results that they won't be pleased with but they are a side that is full of talented individuals," explained Gaffney.

"They have a very strong forward pack and love mauling the ball. In the backline, they have guys like David Strettle, Mike Brown, Ugo Monye, Tom Williams and De Wet Barry who are very talented."

It's a busy period for the Men In Black with four rounds of the Premiership and the final two Heineken Cup pool clashes before a short break from action when the Six Nations begins in February.

"It's important we manage the squad over the next six weeks," added Gaffney. "We'll need to use everyone over that time to ensure people are feeling as fresh as possible. There will be a few changes here and there with guys getting much needed rest at various times.

"But we'll be looking to go in strong into every game while getting the balance right.

"It's a very important period as come early February, we'll be nearly two thirds of the way through the Premiership and could also have secured a Heineken Cup quarter-final spot - it's a very big six weeks."


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