Saracens boss Mark McCall has revealed that plans to sign South Africa international Eben Etzebeth have been shelved.
The 24-year-old lock was one of the names in the frame to join the Premiership and European champions as a direct replacement for Alastair Hargreaves, who has been forced to retire because of concussion.
However, initial discussions have now ended because Etzebeth's contract with SA Rugby means he would only be able to join Saracens on a short-term deal which would end in February.
As a result, McCall told BBC Radio 5 live: "We are exploring some options, but that one is unlikely to happen.
"Trying to find somebody of the right quality who is available and eligible to come to the UK isn't all that easy at this time of year.
"He would have been an interesting option, but it doesn't look like it will happen."
He added: "We thought [we could] get ourselves to the end of January and then maybe find another solution, but as I said I don't think that is going to happen."