England and British & Irish Lions star Maro Itjoe is ‘champing at the bit’ to return to action for Saracens against Bath on Sunday, according to the club’s director of rugby Mark McCall.

Itjoe, 26, is available for the first time this Gallagher Premiership season and is set to feature at The Rec after a mandated ten-week rest period.

The talismanic second-rower played every minute of the Test series in South Africa as Warren Gatland’s Lions went down 2-1. 

Itoje has been spotted running in the water and has been back in the team environment for a few weeks but is being eased into domestic action after a brutally physical summer against the Springboks.

“He obviously came back into the training group at the same time as everybody else but we wanted just to give him a little bit more time than the other Lions players because of his workload on tour,” said McCall, who has seen his side win two out of three games on their return to the Premiership.

“But he’s champing at the bit and it’s great to have him back.

“Although he hasn’t been playing, he has taken part in training. He’s been very good with the non-playing squad, helping to prepare the team.

“He’s a good guy to have in there to organise the opposition line-out etc.

“He’s done a phenomenal job of that over the last three or four weeks, thrown himself into it brilliantly, helped a lot of the younger players, but it is good to have him in the 23 now.”

With Elliot Daly a long-term absentee following a stress fracture, Itoje will be the last of Sarries’ fit Lions contingent to return to the side and feature in the Premiership for the first time since the end of the 2019-20 season.

Jamie George and skipper Owen Farrell were back in the team for the narrow 13-12 defeat to early pace-setters Leicester Tigers a fortnight ago before Mako Vunipola returned last week for the 37-23 win over Newcastle Falcons.

Sarries take on a Bath side that are still looking for their first victory of the campaign, having slipped to three consecutive defeats under Stuart Hooper.

Bath could welcome back Danny Cipriani from concussion for the first time since the opening round, which would make for an exciting match-up at No.10 with England captain Farrell.

A bye week in Round 4 means the 33-year-old fly-half could be fit enough to make the matchday 23. 

Saracens back-rower Jackson Wray is a doubt after missing the win at StoneX Stadium against the Falcons with a concussion and will be assessed ahead of the Round 5 trip to Somerset.