EOIN SHERIFF HAS joined Championship outfit Bedford Blues on a season-long loan from Saracens, adding to the ever-growing number of Irish players involved in England’s second-tier league.
The 25-year-old Gorey native signed for Sarries in 2012, having come through the academy system at Leinster to make a single Pro 12 appearance for the province against Glasgow in 2010.
Former Ireland U18, U19 and U20 lock Sheriff made 12 first-team appearances for Mark McCall’s Saracens last season, including a Heineken Cup debut off the bench versus Zebre in December.
The Irishman has agreed to join Bedford for the 2014/15 campaign, presumably with the intention of playing more regular senior rugby. Sheriff started a game for the Blues last season during a brief spell on loan, scoring a try in the Championship clash with Bristol.
Bedford have a dual-registration agreement with Saracens, acting as something similar to a feeder club and providing the Premiership side’s young players a chance to earn game time.
In that vein, seven other Sarries’ players have agreed to dual registration contracts with the Blues this season, including the highly-rated England U20 international trio of Maro Itoje, Nathan Earle and Nick Tompkins.
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Saracens’ first-team pillars like Owen Farrell, Will Fraser, Jackson Wray, George Kruis and Duncan Taylor have all benefited from dual registration with Bedford in the past.
Sheriff’s loan move into the Championship makes him the latest Irish player to head for England’s second division, with the likes of Adam Macklin, Willie Ryan and James McKinney having joined Rotherham Titans this summer and many others already contracted in the league.