Planet Rugby

Sharks visit excites Hodgson

21st January 2014 10:46

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charlie hodgson saracens

New ground: Charlie Hodgson

Saracens and former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson is looking forward to testing himself when the Sharks visit this week.

The South African franchise will play Saracens in a one-off fixture this weekend at Allianz Park.

The Sharks new CEO, former World Cup-winning captain John Smit, is a former Saracens player and ties between the two clubs are strong, with Brendan Venter having worked with both teams over the last couple of years.

Saracens have named their strongest available squad minus those players away on international duty ahead of the Six Nations - including Brad Barritt, Kelly Brown, Chris Ashton and Alex Goode amongst others.

The Sharks meanwhile are bringing a strong squad to London including Springboks Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Saracens have an LV= Cup match the following day, but Hodgson's focus is on making the most of a rare experience, taking on a Super Rugby side for the first time in his career.

"It might seem unusual to be playing a match like this in the middle of our season, but Saracens is a club that constantly challenges conventions, and there is a real buzz around the training ground," Hodgson told the Saracens website.

"The Sharks are one of the top teams in Super Rugby, and we'll have to be at our best to compete with a side including 12 Springboks.

"I've never had the opportunity to play against any Super Rugby team, so it will be a new experience - it's a one-off event."

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