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'A lot of people have talked rubbish about us... if you're telling me we're breaking the salary cap that's an interesting one'

By PA
Jamie George (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Saracens forward Jamie George has hit at critics of the London club following their heartbreaking Heineken Champions Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Racing 92 at La Defence Arena in Paris.

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After leading for most of the game, the reigning champions suffered a 19-15 semi-final loss to their hosts as Juan Imhoff’s late converted try proved decisive.

Sarries were condemned to relegation from the Gallagher Premiership in January for breaching salary cap regulations.

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Jerome Kaino on the future of the All Blacks, Cheslin Kolbe and his final season in rugby

They have two Premiership fixtures to fulfil – away to Worcester on Wednesday and at home to Bath next Sunday – before starting life in the Championship.

England hooker George summed up the uncertainty around the club, saying: “The element of the unknown is pretty horrendous.

“The way we saw it was that it was our last chance to compete for a little while.

“We wanted to finish it off and I’m gutted, I’m not going to lie. But at the same time I’m also incredibly proud.

“A lot of people have talked rubbish about us for a long time. But if you look at the squad here probably our best player was Dom Morris, and if you’re telling me we’re breaking the salary cap that’s an interesting one.

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“I don’t know what we’re going to be facing, but the young players coming through are hugely motivated and that is the exciting thing for me.

“This defeat is a tough one to take because we had control of the game.

“We felt comfortable defensively, but a bit of magic from Finn (Russell) and they got that try at the end.”

Saracens head coach Mark McCall branded it the end of an era. “This has been an incredible period for us in the last five seasons. This was our 23rd knock-out game in either Europe or the Premiership and we’ve won 19 of those games, which is an incredible record.

“We put our heart and soul into that game and we can be proud of the players. They are a special group.”

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Saracens won’t compete in Europe again until 2022 at the earliest.

PA

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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J
Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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