Alex Lozowski has hit back at Saracens critics, insisting they will not “lie down” and hand over their Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup titles even though they now have a bigger target on their backs following the salary cap row.
Saracens have been fined £5.3million and will be deducted 35 points in the Premiership campaign unless an appeal for breaching the salary cap over the last three seasons is successful.
The controversy, which erupted last week when Premiership Rugby announced its findings, had led to much criticism of the London club.
However, Lozowski claimed the dislike of them is nothing new due to their remarkable record of collecting trophies over the last decade. He said: “Ever since I have been here, we have been universally disliked.
“So, it’s not really new to us and that is what happens to you when you have success and win championships. I guess what has happened has made that a bit worse, but we are used to being disliked.
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“Teams always give their best 80 minutes because they want to beat you so badly and that is what we deal with every week. We look forward to those games and the target on our backs may be a bit bigger now. I am sure we are all ready to deal with that.”
Lozowski, who heads to Paris on Sunday to start the club’s defence of their Heineken Champions Cup title against Racing 92, added: “We are not going to lie down and give it away to whoever comes next.
“We are a proud bunch of lads who are proud of what we achieved last season (winning the double) and we have an opportunity to start our defence against a great team in Paris and the first round is always massive.
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“There has been no talk at all about being able to afford to lose this one and sneak through. We are going over there to win.
“Nothing that has happened (to the club) affects training. We are professional rugby players and there has been no talk of points reductions or penalties at this stage.
“We have an amazing challenge against a phenomenal team and the moment we start worrying about other things, then it could be a long afternoon on Sunday.”
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Lozowski did admit it has been difficult to avoid hearing the criticism from other clubs over the decision to fine Saracens and deduct Premiership points.
“It’s hard not to see it on social media and a lot of people have had a lot to say about it – other teams, coaches and players. It is hard not to notice it but in terms of how it makes me feel – it doesn’t really bother me.”
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