“We have got a plan for the worst-case scenario which will affect our strategy around the Champions Cup,” says Saracens director of rugby
Last Updated: 10/11/19 8:54am
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has admitted the club will prioritise their fight for Premiership survival over the defence of their Champions Cup title.
The two-time defending Premiership champions defeated Gloucester 21-12 on Saturday in their first match since they were docked 35 points and fined £5m for breaching the salary cap last week.
Saracens, who are appealing the punishment by Premiership Rugby, would drop to -22 points in the Premiership table.
They face Top 14 club Racing Metro in Paris next Sunday in their opening European match.
“Our job at the moment if the points deduction remains and the appeal is not successful is to try to stay up and that is what we will try and do,” McCall told The Telegraph.
“I think we have to (assume the challenge will fail). We have got a plan for the worst-case scenario which will affect our strategy around the Champions Cup.”
Saracens, missing their England contingent who reached the World Cup final, were booed onto the field at Kingsholm, while some Gloucester supporters waved fake £50 notes.
England internationals including Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola are unlikely to return to club commitments until the Premiership fixture away to Bath on November 29 at the earliest.
“I think we would have had some big conversations anyway about how they are feeling because it is unrealistic to think some can come back from five months away and play in a Champions Cup game two weeks after a World Cup final,” McCall said.
“Those conversations are going to be a bit different now. When we play like that in a game like today I think a lot of these players deserve to experience European Rugby and that could be a big benefit to the club in the long term.”