Saracens salary cap breach: Mark McCall won't break up trophy-winning squad

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport at Kingsholm
Gloucester fans waved money ate Saracens in reference to their salary cap fine
Gloucester fans waved fake money at Saracens in reference to their salary cap fine

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall says the club is not looking to let players go, despite being accused of breaching the Premiership's salary cap.

The club is appealing against a 35-point deduction and £5.36m fine after investments by owner Nigel Wray into firms co-owned by some players.

Saracens had nine players in England's World Cup squad and others with Wales, South Africa and Scotland.

"We're not thinking of breaking up the squad," McCall said.

With the summer arrivals of England players Jack Singleton and Elliot Daly, there have been questions as to whether the charges levelled at them, which cover the previous three seasons, could also apply this term.

"Were we to be relegated, I think we need to do some good thinking and proper planning," he continued after the win at Gloucester. "There's a Lions tour at the end of next season and we'll see.

"But our job at the moment, if the points deduction remains and the appeal is not successful, is to try and stay up."

McCall believes focusing on the club's Premiership survival will likely come at the cost of a challenge for a fourth European Champions Cup title in five years.

Against Gloucester, Saracens rested seven of their England players who featured at the World Cup, including captain Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Daly and brothers Mako and Billy Vunipola.

But their inexperienced replacements impressed in their side's 21-12 win at a hostile Kingsholm.

Jack Singleton
Hooker Jack Singleton was one of the Saracens players at the World Cup in action against Gloucester

On the return of his England players, McCall said: "We would have had some big conversations anyway about how they were feeling because it's unrealistic to think that some can come back from five months away and play in a Champions Cup game two weeks after a World Cup final, so we were going to have those conversations, but those conversations are a bit different now.

"When we play like that in a game like today, all these players deserve to experience European rugby and that could be a big benefit to the club in the long term."

McCall's side were the subject of sustained boos at Kingsholm, having been accused of overspending on their squad, as fans waved fake £50 notes.

But he told BBC Sport that his side must continue to show a togetherness and not try and react to the negative coverage they have received this week.

"We understand very well that a siege mentality is not sustainable over six or seven or eight months," he added.

"Being fuelled by anger or resentment or frustration or sorrow is too negative.

"This is all fuelled by how together the group is, and how they want to support each other, and this is something we can really build on over the weeks ahead."

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