'Everyone should get behind them... they have done their time': Rival boss salutes Saracens
Title-chasing Sale boss Alex Sanderson has paid tribute to his former club Saracens and their imminent return to the ranks of the Gallagher Premiership following their 60-0 first leg hammering of Ealing in the two-game Championship final.
Saracens became a pariah in the English game following the repeated salary cap breaches that ultimately resulted in their automatic relegation from the top flight, but their one-year stay in the second tier is just 80 minutes from completion as they host Trailfinders in an academic second leg fixture next Sunday at the StoneX.
By then Saracens will know if Sanderson, their long-serving former assistant, has guided Sale into the Premiership final just five months after he joined the Manchester club as the director of rugby successor to Steve Diamond.
The ties between Sanderson and Saracens have remained strong in 2021. Not only are there weekly calls with Mark McCall, his old boss, but many of the players he coached keep in touch and he paid a handsome tribute to their Championship title success when asked by RugbyPass had he watched last Sunday’s first leg and how chuffed he was with their all but guaranteed promotion.
“I didn’t watch it because I was on the phone for eight hours but I was following it on Twitter and I spoke to some of the boys after,” said Sanderson. “I texted them the day before as they texted me straight after the game [the round 22 Sale loss at Exeter].
"When the relegation was confirmed anything could have happened, people could have left, people had an excuse to go"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 10, 2021
“I am absolutely delighted that they are back in the top flight where they deserve to be. They look like they are going to come back as strong as they were when they left, which I had no doubt about because I knew the organisation was in a good place. That was one of the things that enabled my move to happen. I was certain that they were going to get back to where they needed to be, so yeah I am made up for them. Look, they have got to do it again (in the second leg) but it’s a pretty foregone conclusion.
“But I can’t say how tough it was. You people might think it is easy to close ranks and have a siege mentality when the world hates you but it’s not. I have come away to somewhere that is brilliant and special and I love it up here but they have been through two years of it now so I think everyone should get behind them to be fair. They have done their time.”
Title-chasing Sale has been speaking colourfully about the form and the injury situation of their casualties from last Saturday's loss at Exeter, the team whom the Sharks face again this Saturday #EXEvSALhttps://t.co/Bw0vNwONdp
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 15, 2021
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