Maro Itoje hopes to be excluded from England's British and Irish Lions contingent that are rested this autumn knowing he will crave for the thrill of international rugby if stood down.

Itoje has started eight of Saracens' nine matches this season, playing all but 38 minutes of the six Aviva Premiership and two Champions Cup games, despite making three Test appearances against the All Blacks during the summer.

Jones has repeatedly indicated he will overlook some of Warren Gatland's tourists for the fixtures against Argentina, Australia and Samoa at Twickenham due to the fatigue accumulated during a punishing schedule in New Zealand.

Itoje's workload this season makes him a prime candidate for a reduced workload - the identity of the players Jones has in mind are unknown - but the 23-year-old Saracens lock yearns to be involved.

"I'm expecting to play and we'll see what happens. The body is good and I'm still relatively young," Vitality ambassador Itoje said.

"These decisions are not made to spite me. If a decision is made to rest me then it will have been made for the long-term future.

"Whatever decision is made, both could be beneficial. Your outlook on it can be helpful. I have no qualms.

"But I often find it's the occasions when I'm rested or not playing for whatever reason, you realise how much you enjoy playing, how much you want to play.

"There's times where I've been rotated for one week, and I'm at home watching and I'm like 'sugar, I want to be there'. They're the times when you truly realise how much it means to you."

"When I see Saracens and I see England play, and I'm not in it, that's when I feel 'sugar, I want to be with the boys'.

"There's a feeling you get before games that it's hard to replicate in other situations. A mixture of anxiety and nervousness and excitement. You can fully replicate that in other life moments.

"It's a very uncomfortable feeling but because of the excitement in there as well you crave it at times."

Itoje was not due to start Saracens' season opener against Northampton but because of the club's injury problems in the back row he was compelled to play and it was not until Saturday's victory over London Irish that he was finally given a weekend off.

"Saracens have been very good to me, so whenever I can help them I will even if it cuts my holiday short a little bit," Itoje said.

"I haven't had to taper anything, I'm still doing the normal training with the rest of the boys.

"I'm doing my own extra bit of recovery. I am spending a bit more time in the pool. I make sure I have my pool recovery before every game, which is something that I didn't do last year.

"I normally go with Alex Goode, he lives in London now, so he is my recovery buddy."

Maro Itoje is an Ambassador for health and life insurer Vitality, inspiring healthy and active lifestyles. To find out more, visit