Mark McCall has finally broken his silence four days after Saracens were found guilty by Premiership Rugby of breaking the salary cap.
The Londoners were fined in excess of £5.3million and deducted 35 league points, a punishment they are appealing.
The salary cap revelations resulted in director of rugby McCall, along with skipper Brad Barritt, missing Wednesday’s Champions Cup launch in Cardiff, an absence their club is likely to be fined over.
However, McCall finally fronted up on Saturday prior to Saracens taking on Gloucester in the Premiership at Kingsholm. Here is what he has to say in a six-question, two-minute interview with BT Sport.
BT Sport: With Saracens found to be in breach of the salary cap, how much of this does and should fall at your door”
MARK McCALL: It has been a really challenging week. I am thrilled with how the players and staff have rallied during the week and got on with the task in hand which is all we can do. This group, in particular, have shown a lot of grit and toughness over the last few weeks and we are going to have to show that today against a full-strength Gloucester side.
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BT: Within the rugby world people are questioning how this has happened. You as the director of rugby, you put in your request for the players that you need for your campaign, those players arrive. At any time have you questioned how that has happened and whether Saracens have been breaching the salary cap?
MM: I understand why you are asking me that question. But hopefully, you understand that the club are appealing the decision and in those circumstances, it’s probably not right to add to what had already been released by the club by way of statements.
'It’s almost like with Leicester, you play them after two losses you know you are going to get a side that is going to be bang on it, and it is the same thing with Saracens'
– Johan Ackermann tells @heagneyl what Gloucester expect to face on Saturday https://t.co/QvnxlLESHl
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 8, 2019
BT: With this review pending, although nothing officially has been launched, Saracens are still subject to the 35-point deduction. Does that change your approach for the Premiership campaign and how you manage your squad through this season?
MM: In all likelihood, yes, those decisions are ones that we are considering at the moment. All of this has happened a little bit unexpectedly at the start off the week and we have got some big decisions to make in that regard.
BT: When the news broke to the players, how did they respond, how did they react?
MM: They were shocked if I am absolutely honest. But like I said at the start of the interview, they have been magnificent in terms of how they have rallied together and got on with the job at hand. I guess my job at the moment is to get on with the rugby and try to get the best out of this group, and that is what we are going to try and do.
How did it happen?
How does this impact the squad?
How did the players respond?
Saracens' Director of Rugby Mark McCall addresses the salary cap breach for the first time. pic.twitter.com/CN2wTZDfLD
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) November 9, 2019
BT: At any point have there been discussions about the possible need to trim the size of the squad?
MM: No, there hasn’t been.
BT: What is the emotional message you are giving to the players today?
MM: As you know from down the years we have got a really tight group here and we were really encouraged that all our World Cup players were in twice last week. It was certainly an internal show of unity and today is just about the players fighting for each other and supporting each other and that is all.
WATCH: Former Saracens player Jim Hamilton discusses the salary cap scandal surrounding his former club
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