Saracens strength and conditioning coach Andy Edwards will end a 15-year association with the club to take up a role with the Springboks.
Edwards, who has been a part of the Saracens family since initially joining as a player in 2004, will begin a new chapter as South Africa’s Head of Athletic Performance.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was delighted for Edwards, wishing the long-serving staff member nothing but the best in his new role.
“Andy has been a hugely popular and important figure in our group for a long time,” he said.
“Whilst we will be sad to see him leave the club, we are also thrilled for him to get such an exciting opportunity on the international stage.
“It speaks volumes for how highly our outstanding Performance Team is regarded and we know that Andy will do a great job.
“I would like to thank Andy for his friendship and for the wonderful contribution he has made to our club and wish him and Lorena all the best as they set out on a new journey.”
Edwards was appointed Academy strength and conditioning coach in 2006 and along with Academy Manager Mike Hynard began a journey with a special group of players today known as the ‘Class of 2008’.
Jackson Wray, Will Fraser, Owen Farrell, Jamie George and George Kruis all worked closely with Edwards, who in his tenure has seen Sarries lift five Premiership and three European titles.
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And George believes it is his incredible commitment to the cause that has made Edwards such an important and impactful figure.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Andy and the impact he has had at Saracens,” said the Sarries and England hooker. “Our group [class of 2008] has grown up together and it’s been amazing to see him develop into one of, if not the best, S&C coaches around.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who is as good at their job. He’s incredibly committed, knowledgeable but more importantly understanding.
“I consider him one of my closest mates and I’m gutted for him to be leaving but it’s an amazing opportunity with South Africa and one he massively deserves.”
Another player to have benefitted from Edwards’ time at Allianz Park is Academy graduate, England and British & Irish Lion international Maro Itoje who is grateful for the time invested in him during his career to date.
“Andy has been a great coach and friend to me over the last seven years whilst he has been my person coach,” he said. “His knowledge of what needs to be done is second to none.
“He’s a great Saracen, he’s been here since he was very young, he knows the club inside and out and we’re very sorry to see him leave. It’s a tremendous opportunity for him and his family to go to South Africa and I wish him all the best and he will always be missed at Saracens.”