Exclusive: Saracens sign promising England prospect who has caught Steve Borthwick’s eye

Jared Wright
Phil Brantingham of Newcastle Falcons arriving at Kingston Park for the Gallagher Premiership match between Newcastle Falcons and Harlequins at Kingston Park, Newcastle on Friday 5th January 2024.

Phil Brantingham of Newcastle Falcons arriving at Kingston Park for the Gallagher Premiership match between Newcastle Falcons and Harlequins at Kingston Park, Newcastle on Friday 5th January 2024.

Saracens have swooped to sign one of the Premiership’s most promising front-rowers from Newcastle Falcons, Planet Rugby understands.

The London club are currently dealing with an injury crisis in the front-row, having recently signed former Falcons and Leicester Tigers prop Logovi’i Mulipola as cover.

Phil Brantingham

Looking to elevate the injury crisis and looking to the future, Planet Rugby understands that Mark McCall’s side have secured the services of highly-rated prop Phil Brantingham from Newcastle.

The 22-year-old signed a deal with the London club for the 2024/25 season this week, but Saracens hope to add him to their squad sooner rather than later.

The defending Premiership champions are currently without injured props Marco Riccioni, Eroni Mawi, Ollie Hoskins and Ralph Adams-Hale and hope to get Brantingham in Saracens colours as soon as possible with a stacked fixture list across the Premiership and Champions Cup before the Six Nations.

However, they have hit a stumbling block as the Falcons are dealing with a similar crisis in their front-row.

Brantingham has been a mainstay in the Falcons’ starting line-up this season, featuring in all but one of their 13 matches across the Challenge Cup and Premiership, playing all 11 of their games in the latter.

While Newcastle have struggled for results this season and have yet to win a single match in either of the two competitions mentioned above, they have been competitive in the set-pieces and the scrum in particular.

They boast a respectable 84 per cent success rate and have conceded just 11 penalties at the set piece, compared to Saracens’ 16 per cent and 87 per cent success rate.

Breakout year

For Brantingham, it has been a breakout year for the young prop who was namedropped by England head coach Steve Borthwick last week.

England could be without loosehead props Joe Marler, Ellis Genge and Bevan Rodd for the upcoming Six Nations, all of which featured at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, helping the side finish third overall.

Gloucester’s Val Rapava-Ruskin is also a doubt for the tournament, which means Borthwick could turn to some Test rookies for the start of the championship.

Brantingham will certainly be in the mix for a potential call-up after being described by Borthwick as a ‘good young prop’ and mentioned along with Harlequins’ Fin Baxter, Northampton’s Tarek Haffar and Bath’s Beno Obano when discussing England’s options for the loosehead role.

Planet Rugby contacted Saracens, but the club declined to comment.

READ MORE: French club target England international after missing out on Springbok’s signature