The British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand is fast becoming a distant memory as domestic season openers loom on the horizon.
Despite the heroic drawn series against the All Blacks last month, focus has returned to club rugby and the gruelling season that lies ahead.
Those who toured as Lions this summer extended their season by another two months are only now returning to training with their clubs and have, by and large, been permitted to rest while their teammates enjoyed some pre-season action.
For European champions and Aviva Premiership giants Saracens, a total of six first team players have been enjoying a well-earned break away from the rigours of professional rugby.
While Saracens season opener against Northampton Saints on September 2 is now less than two weeks away, Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, George Kruis and new recruit Liam Williams, are all only beginning to lace up the boots for another season.
Despite the fast approaching clash with the Saints, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has revealed, via the Telegraph, he is in no hurry to rush his Test Lions back into action.
“We’ve got a game coming up in 10 days’ time and we need to take a long view with most of them.
“To rush them back too early if we didn’t have to would be a mistake in a couple of cases. But where the team needs that to happen, then it may be that we need to bring one or two back for the first game.”
““You need to look back over the past couple of seasons and who played how many minutes. A couple of players didn’t play that much last last year.
“Someone like George Kruis didn’t play in the last two [Lions] Test matches. Others missed a bit of rugby. With Mako and Owen we have some tough choices to make.”
“As a club, we’re not looking to get our pound of flesh. We’re looking at the welfare of the player. I’m trying to make good choices based on good reasons as to when they come back.”