England skipper Farrell reassures Saracens team-mates he won’t leave despite shamed champs facing automatic relegation – The Sun

ENGLAND captain Owen Farrell reassured his Saracens teammates that he would NOT leave after the shamed side told players they are set to be kicked out of the league.

So that means that the country's most high-profile and best-paid player, on around £750,000-a-year, is on the verge of facing part-time players in the second tier of English rugby next season.

Sarries stars were called to the surprise 8.30am summit after their Premiership foes went to war with them.

Rival owners called for the troubled club to be relegated at the end of the season as they are still understood to be on target to break this year's salary cap by £2million.

At a board meeting on Tuesday the fed-up clubs demanded that Saracens should play in the Championship next season, despite already being hit with a £5.36m fine and a 35-point reduction.

Boss Mark McCall cancelled this morning's training session after the latest round of emotional talks with players.

He told them to come back in the afternoon when they would go through their final preparations before playing Racing 92 in a European shoot-out on Sunday.

But towards the end of the meeting, SunSport understands that star player Farrell asked the coaches and Sarries management to leave the room before addressing the players.


Farrell is understood to have had his own Martin Johnson moment as he told the players that he wasn't going anywhere, and that he looked forward to seeing who is with him and ready to get stuck in.

The England star said that he would be the first person to arrive at Allianz Park on Sunday for their big European game against Racing 92 on Sunday.

Sarries need their players to take pay-cuts, or, face the risk of being moved on.

There have been lists of names drawn up – some who are indispensable such as Farrell, Maro Itoje, Billy and Mako Vunipola and Jamie George – who have formed the basis of guys who have come through the academy are all safe.

The club do also not want to hand their rivals any of their world-class stars to boost their chances of capitalising on the pitch.

Then there is a second category of players who are at risk and are free to look at their options, followed by a third list of players who will be told they have to leave due to the financial crisis.

There is no salary cap in the Championship so theoretically any player who stays could be paid handsomely for their loyalty and service.

However, if Saracens did go down, they would also lose the chance to play in the Champions Cup – even if they win it for the fourth time this year.

Former Sarries boss Brendan Venter, who is credited for fostering the culture at the club that has seen them create a winning dynasty, also fired a warning shot to others.

The South African tweeted: "The thing I am now looking fwd to most is when the Daily Mail latches on to the fact that various other clubs have been doing some creative accounting to stay within the cap.

"Will all the haters stay loyal to their moral compasses. This story far from over yet. The good news is that Saracens is a club with a great culture of looking after people.

"They have taken a big knock but in these times character kicks in. Watch them overcome this, keep the team together and come back stronger. Life is way more interesting with challenges."

Giving his – and a Sarries slant on the story – Venter added: "Timeline. Saracens get charged with breaking the cap.

"They dispute it and lose. This only happens in this current season. Get a fine and points reduction.

"When it becomes apparent that despite deduction they wont get relegated this season is questioned. How could they correct it?

"They then ask for an opportunity to correct it before 31 Jan. The clubs refuse. This would have put Saracens within the cap legally for the year.

"Granted with a bit of luck because of injuries but nevertheless in the cap. Now tell me there was no agenda from the start?"

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