Ben Earl admitted it was his England career igniting that convinced him to re-sign with Saracens and play his part in lifting the domestic club out of the doldrums.
Earlier this week Earl signed a long-term contract with the Gallagher Premiership champions to continue his upward trajectory in a 2023 that has produced his first Test start and selection in Steve Borthwick’s World Cup squad.
Now that rampaging displays against Argentina, Japan and Chile have impressed audiences in France, he has become one of Borthwick’s star performers, who is set to be restored to the back row against Samoa on Saturday.
Having struggled to convince Eddie Jones and then being discarded by Borthwick in the Six Nations earlier this year in order to work on his conditioning, the 25-year-old admits he was considering his options overseas until his England outlook changed.
“You never shut that door. I guess it is a lot easier to move abroad if you are not playing for England,” Earl said.
“If you are not in the picture, it can be nice sometimes to have a change of scene, but thankfully at the moment I’m playing for England and that made my decision for me.
“Steve has always been very honest with me about what it would take for me to play for England and hopefully I’m starting to make some steps in those directions.
“Now it is just a no-brainer, I’m fully focussed on playing for Saracens and hopefully for England for a long time.”
Jersey Reds’ announcement last week that they had entered administration lifts the total of professional clubs to have gone out of business in the past year to four, painting a grim picture of the finances of the English game.
A closer relationship between the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby is set to produce a series of ‘hybrid contracts’ that will give Borthwick greater control over around 20 of his Tests stars.
Earl would be a prime candidate for one of the contracts that would see a player’s club receive greater compensation and he believes his generation has a role to play in restoring the sport to health.
“We are hearing good things about the plans for the league over the next couple of years – salary cap stuff and commercial stuff. We are already seeing some small changes and that can only be a good thing,” he said.
“There have been times when players have shut themselves off from the commercial side of the game.
“And we as a younger generation in terms of coming through and taking on the mantle of the league, we need to be a bit more open by putting ourselves out there.
“We’ve had some talks with the league. We’re asking for a bit more, they’re asking for a bit more. Everyone is willing and saying the right things, so hopefully that’s a step in the right direction.”