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SOS (Save our Saracens)
Discussion started by RobV , 07 November, 2019 11:36
SOS (Save our Saracens)
RobV 07 November, 2019 11:36
Having supported the club for 20 odd years, sadly I'm quite pessimistic about our current plight.

Playing Devils advocate, following a failed appeal (which quite honestly feels most likely..) where do we go from there? I personally believe Nigel's position as Chairman / Owner is somewhat untenable in that context. He will probably battle on tooth and nail but it damages the club hugely.

If he resigns - is a sale of the club inevitable? Given our financial losses over the years, and reputational damage, are there many likely buyers? How do the sponsors feel about this? Do Allianz withdraw support and look to sell the stadium rights?

It probably feels a bit doomsday but worse case scenario, I worry about how tenable the position of the entire club be becomes.

I may be completely wrong. Given the club has been around for nearly 150 years (other supporters may wish to note we're not a club without history) it may survive, but I can't imagine it would be in its current form and may go the way of rebuilding through lower leagues.

How positive an outcome would a successful appeal be in reality? Everyone outside of the club would still believe we have cheated the system hence the championships will all have a huge question mark against them. Any future success will be assumed tainted regardless.

Either way it will take a long time to come back from this.

Feeling glum.

Rob

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
AlexInSouthville 07 November, 2019 12:16
Quins turned it around Sarries can too.

But it will take time, and yes, those titles are now tainted - which is a shame, as I genuinely think that things such as the culture, coaching etc were something unique and special, but as their impact cannot be decoupled from the impact of having a bench full of internationals, you will never receive credit for it.

And Wray has to go. The appeal, the disingenuous interviews, they are just making things worse.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Westy68 07 November, 2019 12:20
I'm pretty sure no one wishes the club not to exist, that is just wrong.

I do dislike the cheating that has happened ( and it's been more than 3 years) and i just hope Wray takes the punishment and moves on.

As a Wasps fan I know how it feels to potential loss your club, so you do have my sympathy.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
#wolfpack 07 November, 2019 12:26
Quote:
RobV
If he resigns - is a sale of the club inevitable? Given our financial losses over the years, and reputational damage, are there many likely buyers? How do the sponsors feel about this? Do Allianz withdraw support and look to sell the stadium rights?
It probably feels a bit doomsday but worse case scenario, I worry about how tenable the position of the entire club be becomes.

I agree. It's beginning to feel quite existential and everyone is smelling blood.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
MarchingIn 07 November, 2019 13:13
Worcester have said before that they spend up to the cap - obviously they don't spend as much as the biggest clubs do on marquee players beyond that, but they manage to drop £7m on the main squad. They have a smallish stadium (11.5k) and an average crowd of about 8k. They are tough to beat at home and hold onto Premiership status most seasons, but don't really threaten to go top 6.

Maybe that would be about Sarries level without Wray? It wouldn't have to mean ruin & lower leagues. The advantage of the fact that you haven't had another 10,000 fans flock to the club for the glory is that it hasn't pushed the club to a size where their departure will be a shock and leave you with a 60% empty stadium - I would assume most of the fans you have got won't walk away again if you have to cut your cloth accordingly but can hang on to top flight status?

If Wray left and I was in put in charge, the first thing I would do is re-brand the club slightly - "London Saracens" perhaps.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
CambridgeSarrie. 07 November, 2019 14:01
I'm glad we haven't got a home game for a few weeks, I'm not sure how I feel about supporting the team at the moment. What a mess. If the appeal is rejected I can't see any future for NW at the club. All those years of lifting silverware means little now in my eyes. We've all been duped. I feel for the other teams.



Here we go! Dah. Dah-dah-dee-dah....

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
daz_71 07 November, 2019 14:35
I feel exactly the same at the moment CambridgeSarrie. As much as I support the club and the boys on the field it all feels a bit empty. The reputation will take decades to get back and if NW is forced to walk away (and if the review fails he probably should be) there won't be a queue of investors waiting to put their money in.

Quote:
CambridgeSarrie.
I'm glad we haven't got a home game for a few weeks, I'm not sure how I feel about supporting the team at the moment. What a mess. If the appeal is rejected I can't see any future for NW at the club. All those years of lifting silverware means little now in my eyes. We've all been duped. I feel for the other teams.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Quin Kong 07 November, 2019 14:39
Quote:
daz_71
I feel exactly the same at the moment CambridgeSarrie. As much as I support the club and the boys on the field it all feels a bit empty. The reputation will take decades to get back and if NW is forced to walk away (and if the review fails he probably should be) there won't be a queue of investors waiting to put their money in.
Quote:
CambridgeSarrie.
I'm glad we haven't got a home game for a few weeks, I'm not sure how I feel about supporting the team at the moment. What a mess. If the appeal is rejected I can't see any future for NW at the club. All those years of lifting silverware means little now in my eyes. We've all been duped. I feel for the other teams.

Well in the worst case you can always buy the supporters of London Welsh a pint or two, I feel your club may owe them that.



QUIN KONG

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Cereal Killer 07 November, 2019 15:56
The more I read from opposition fans and players the more I think they won't feel justice has been done unless the club cease to exist. I don't see a way forward for the club unfortunately.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Quinten Poulsen 07 November, 2019 16:04
I would hope that Wray steps away from the day to day running of the club and hires a CEO. I think the main thing is for Wray to have absolutely nothing to do with player signings, contracts and benefits. If he loves the club so much, and I'm sure he does, there's no reason why he can't steer the club in the same direction but without the shenanigans. Keeping a very low profile would be good.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Rupes 07 November, 2019 16:06
At the moment, I'm just not sure how / when anyone (including Saracens fans) can watch a Saracens match in the Premiership and think that everything's fine. How long that will take to go away, I have no idea.

I see a way forward for the club, but I think the way forward isn't necessarily with the club structure and set up that exists now.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
ukms 07 November, 2019 16:11
Quote:
Cereal Killer
The more I read from opposition fans and players the more I think they won't feel justice has been done unless the club cease to exist. I don't see a way forward for the club unfortunately.

I donít think you can underestimate how the supporters and players of other clubs rightly feel. That said the majority are rational people who certainly donít blame supporters and certainly wouldnít wish Sarries to go out of existence. What I think most are simply looking for is an acknowledgment of the wrong doing, draw a line and move forward. Of course it will take a long time to rebuild but thatís unavoidable. What is rubbing people up the wrong way is a small number of supporters, NW and others failing to suck it up and trying to justify what has happened by dressing it up as anything other than cheating.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Chris1850 07 November, 2019 16:12
Quote:
Cereal Killer
The more I read from opposition fans and players the more I think they won't feel justice has been done unless the club cease to exist. I don't see a way forward for the club unfortunately.

I think you are confusing the vitriole from a few hotheads with the more sensible pragmatic posts of the majority.

It would seem that Nigel Wray has tried to get away with circumventing the salary cap rules. However he or anyone else pitches it, this has given Sarries an unfair competitive advantage for the last 3 years. The punishment has been decided and NW should, in my view, accept the wrongdoing and swallow the medicine.

I am not sure that the majority of fans or other clubs seriously want to see Saracens cease to exist as a result of the misdemeanours of the owners. What they do want to see however, is justice done and due punishment served. Ultimately, if that also involves NW stepping down and/or selling the club then so be it. He only has himself to blame. If this comes to pass, then I am sure it wont be easy as I can't imagine there will be a queue of buyers at his door. It is at that point that an unfortunate consequence of this affair may mean that Saracens in their current guise cease to exist.

However a league without Sarries is in nobody's interests

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Fellocks 07 November, 2019 16:42
Saints fan, I certainly do not want Saracens to cease to exist, I feel very sorry for the fans right now, Iíd be gutted if it was my team.

I am sure all fans just want the sorry state of affairs to be over. Nigel ĎTefloní Wray should just hold his hands up, suck up the £5m and let his team have a crack at avoiding relegation, which I am sure they will.

Sadly for your club you are damned if you donít appeal, but I fear even more damned if you appeal and lose, and even more so if you appeal and win, as nobody will believe your innocence, least of all the other club chairman.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
cwrich 07 November, 2019 16:48
Quote:
Fellocks
Saints fan, I certainly do not want Saracens to cease to exist, I feel very sorry for the fans right now, Iíd be gutted if it was my team.
I am sure all fans just want the sorry state of affairs to be over. Nigel ĎTefloní Wray should just hold his hands up, suck up the £5m and let his team have a crack at avoiding relegation, which I am sure they will.

Sadly for your club you are damned if you donít appeal, but I fear even more damned if you appeal and lose, and even more so if you appeal and win, as nobody will believe your innocence, least of all the other club chairman.

This

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
MarchingIn 07 November, 2019 17:03
Quote:
Chris1850
However a league without Sarries is in nobody's interests

I think you overestimate the importance of Sarries to the Premiership, from the perspective of other CEOs and supporters.

1. Leaving aside Wray's opposition to the cap existing and his repeated willingness to "work around it", the other clubs have more chance of winning if a club able to write off infinite amounts of money in pursuit of victory are not in the Prem.

2. Saracens have had the kitchen sink thrown at them in financial terms, but haven't grown the league itself as such. You ranked 10th last year on attendances and being close to several other clubs, do nothing for the geographical reach of the league.

3. Everyone else has to work around your ground restrictions and play more Friday night games (which bring smaller crowds to many clubs) as a result.

4. There are 12 slots in the Prem and 13 clubs who can realistically occupy them. For clubs who have experienced the harsh reality of relegation within a season or two of promotion, the idea that even without ringfencing the winners of the Championship might not seek promotion, thus preventing relegation, is probably enticing... in fact, it is kind of compromise.


I absolutely DON'T want a club with 140 years of history to disappear because of a few years of spiv boardroom antics, I just can't see how the rest of the league loses if you end up bobbing along in the Championship without the funds to mount a promotion race?

Happy to hear the counter-argument of course

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
HonkyTonk 07 November, 2019 17:05
I would be devastated if I were a Sarries fan. As a Quins fan, I would have some sympathy if your club accepted the punishment for cheating and got on with it. Some of the excuses being touted around on here are ridiculous, and probably fuelling the fire of other fans the you deem "are hoping your club go to the wall". I wish nothing of the sort, I would be gutted if Sarries imploded. I would also be gutted if Sarries continue with the denial and drag rugby through the mud.

Salary/Investments, call it what you like, the outcome is the same.

This is from our board -

Some excellent stuff here, not much new, but Rob Baxter is spot on with him saying people shouldn't be even looking to find ways round the salary cap. What's the point of having one if you have 12 sets of lawyers doing their best to find ways round it?

[sport.bt.com]

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
CambridgeSarrie. 07 November, 2019 18:09
I started watching Sarries because I loved the values that are adhered too in rugby. Sarries seemed to epitomise this especially. I used to follow football and got tired off the behaviour on and off the pitch

Sarries winning was never my motivation for traveling down and watching the team these past few years. It was such a pleasure to be part of the rugby family, a far more wholesome experience and I've shared them with some really good people. To find out your own club was at it, for years is such a kick in the balls, we have shafted the entire sport in this country. I just put the allegations down to jealousy.

As fans where do we go from here?



Here we go! Dah. Dah-dah-dee-dah....

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
BlackheathSaracen 07 November, 2019 18:32
Personally Wray gets a bit more of my loyalty then dropping out on him now without knowing the details of the investigation.

He's earned my trust and loyalty and until I see otherwise I will accept his word. If the report from the Commission shows otherwise that would be a different matter. There simply isn't, in my view, enough clarity yet to condemn his actions out of hand.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Fellocks 07 November, 2019 18:42
Quote:
cwrich
Quote:
Fellocks
Saints fan, I certainly do not want Saracens to cease to exist, I feel very sorry for the fans right now, Iíd be gutted if it was my team.
I am sure all fans just want the sorry state of affairs to be over. Nigel ĎTefloní Wray should just hold his hands up, suck up the £5m and let his team have a crack at avoiding relegation, which I am sure they will.

Sadly for your club you are damned if you donít appeal, but I fear even more damned if you appeal and lose, and even more so if you appeal and win, as nobody will believe your innocence, least of all the other club chairman.

This

Hi cwrich, not sure why you said Ďthisí.?

I started by saying you sorry I felt for you guys as fans.
how I didnít want Saracens to cease to exist,.
I then said what many Saracens fans are saying themselves and just take the punishment
That I thought you would survive relegation even with the points reduction.
and finally gave an assessment of Saracens reputation in 3 scenarios, sorry if that was the part you didnít like, I was just saying it as I see it and sadly the Saracens brand has been very badly damaged by NW and will probably never be the same again.
I thought youíd appreciate a friendly fan of another club, it seems not.

All the best for the rest of your season.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
AlanE 07 November, 2019 18:50
Quote:
Fellocks
Quote:
cwrich
Quote:
Fellocks
Saints fan, I certainly do not want Saracens to cease to exist, I feel very sorry for the fans right now, Iíd be gutted if it was my team.
I am sure all fans just want the sorry state of affairs to be over. Nigel ĎTefloní Wray should just hold his hands up, suck up the £5m and let his team have a crack at avoiding relegation, which I am sure they will.

Sadly for your club you are damned if you donít appeal, but I fear even more damned if you appeal and lose, and even more so if you appeal and win, as nobody will believe your innocence, least of all the other club chairman.

This


Hi cwrich, not sure why you said Ďthisí.?

I started by saying you sorry I felt for you guys as fans.
how I didnít want Saracens to cease to exist,.
I then said what many Saracens fans are saying themselves and just take the punishment
That I thought you would survive relegation even with the points reduction.
and finally gave an assessment of Saracens reputation in 3 scenarios, sorry if that was the part you didnít like, I was just saying it as I see it and sadly the Saracens brand has been very badly damaged by NW and will probably never be the same again.
I thought youíd appreciate a friendly fan of another club, it seems not.

All the best for the rest of your season.

Fellocks, thank you for your original supportive comment with which I agree.
I must admit I read ĎThisí as meaning that cwrich also fully agreed with what you wrote.



I was 17 miles from Graybridge before I was caught by the school leopard

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Fellocks 07 November, 2019 18:55
Quote:
Fellocks
Quote:
cwrich
Quote:
Fellocks
Saints fan, I certainly do not want Saracens to cease to exist, I feel very sorry for the fans right now, Iíd be gutted if it was my team.
I am sure all fans just want the sorry state of affairs to be over. Nigel ĎTefloní Wray should just hold his hands up, suck up the £5m and let his team have a crack at avoiding relegation, which I am sure they will.

Sadly for your club you are damned if you donít appeal, but I fear even more damned if you appeal and lose, and even more so if you appeal and win, as nobody will believe your innocence, least of all the other club chairman.

This

Hi cwrich, not sure why you said Ďthisí.?

I started by saying you sorry I felt for you guys as fans.
how I didnít want Saracens to cease to exist,.
I then said what many Saracens fans are saying themselves and just take the punishment
That I thought you would survive relegation even with the points reduction.
and finally gave an assessment of Saracens reputation in 3 scenarios, sorry if that was the part you didnít like, I was just saying it as I see it and sadly the Saracens brand has been very badly damaged by NW and will probably never be the same again.
I thought youíd appreciate a friendly fan of another club, it seems not.

All the best for the rest of your season.

Oops I read it the other way, my bad

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Chris1850 07 November, 2019 18:57
Quote:
MarchingIn
Quote:
Chris1850
However a league without Sarries is in nobody's interests

I think you overestimate the importance of Sarries to the Premiership, from the perspective of other CEOs and supporters.

1. Leaving aside Wray's opposition to the cap existing and his repeated willingness to "work around it", the other clubs have more chance of winning if a club able to write off infinite amounts of money in pursuit of victory are not in the Prem.

2. Saracens have had the kitchen sink thrown at them in financial terms, but haven't grown the league itself as such. You ranked 10th last year on attendances and being close to several other clubs, do nothing for the geographical reach of the league.

3. Everyone else has to work around your ground restrictions and play more Friday night games (which bring smaller crowds to many clubs) as a result.

4. There are 12 slots in the Prem and 13 clubs who can realistically occupy them. For clubs who have experienced the harsh reality of relegation within a season or two of promotion, the idea that even without ringfencing the winners of the Championship might not seek promotion, thus preventing relegation, is probably enticing... in fact, it is kind of compromise.


I absolutely DON'T want a club with 140 years of history to disappear because of a few years of spiv boardroom antics, I just can't see how the rest of the league loses if you end up bobbing along in the Championship without the funds to mount a promotion race?

Happy to hear the counter-argument of course

Hi Marchingin. Thanks for your comments.

Firstly, I would stress that I am not a Sarries supporter, I am a Sale fan. I appreciate that my post didn't make this clear.

In response to your well-made points, I would comment as follows:

1. I think the salary cap and adherence to it is critical. It is set at a level that keeps a realistic lid on total player remuneration, whilst still being able to reward top players handsomely, but also at a level that most, if not all clubs can afford. My own club, Sale, are the only club I believe not to have spent up to the cap until this season. That they can now do so is because they have new owners who have put money into the club. It is unfortunately the case that most clubs rely on a benefactor to be sustainable. However, the cap does mean that the relative wealth of a single benefactor does not immediately mean that players salaries spiral out of control in the way that soccer has experienced. I appreciate the irony of this comment wrt the current Saracens situation, which is why I think that the cap, its policing and its enforcement is so important.

2. Salary cap issues aside, I think it is acknowledged that there is much to be admired about Saracens as a club, both in their coaching methods, player welfare and off-field activities generally. I take your point about the geography, but I am not sure that that should count against them, or indeed what they could or should do about it?

3. Agree with this. For many years, Sale played on a Friday night at home to avoid a clash with the soccer clubs locally. Traffic was diabolical at the same time. For every United supporter that came as it didnt clash with their match the next day, I reckon we lost 2 other supporters who either couldnt get to the ground in time or wouldnt try because of the traffic issues. In addition of course, the numbers of away supporters that came was negligible. Now that we play most games on a Saturday pm, coupled with the new owners laying on free shuttle buses, the situation is hugely improved

4. Again, I take your point though I have to say that I don't think it is a justifiable reason to sacrifice any club, let alone a club with the history and tradition of Saracens.

The outcome may well be a club bobbling along in the Championship without any money, as you surmise. I think that would be a shame for the quality of the Premiership and, of course, for supporters who have done nothing wrong. The real villains of the piece are the owners, and it seems unfair that the clubs supporters should suffer as a result of their misdemeanours. Unfortunately, that is all too often the way of the modern sporting world as many football clubs will testify.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Saint For Life 07 November, 2019 19:18
I am a saints fan and have been for 40 years and until I saw the latest interview with NW I had no desire / interest in posting on your site . Your club is tainted , what it stands for is tainted and I feel sorry for those fans who have lived the false dream and lies over x years . I do not want your club to implode . However after hearing your chairmanís latest video statement you have no chance In my opinion of surviving / moving forward whilst he remains in charge . His comments were vomit inducing , no humility , assumes everyone else is stupid , reminds me of the wolf of Wall Street ( all sounded very credible BUT .......)

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
kentwasp1 07 November, 2019 19:55
Wasps fan in peace

feel for you guys

But Ö did you really never suspect how you have 21 Internationals and half the British Lions playing for you?

Things will get ugly and you have to take the punishment, and shed loads of overpaid galacticos, like Daly

Rugby will heal, and hopefully your core fans will also start to travel to away games and stat a new proper "post Wraygate" fan club willing to support a team playing on a level park - losing sometimes

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
myleftboot 07 November, 2019 20:08
I started watching Sarries when they were crap, at Vicarage Road. And will again, but first I need to let all of this sink in. I need to read a full version of the judgement before I join with any cries for Wray to go. He is so entwined with Saracens as a professional team, I'm still struggling to grasp the club going on without him, but if there is no successful appeal, it must be so.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
wombles222 07 November, 2019 20:20
Quote:
myleftboot
I started watching Sarries when they were crap, at Vicarage Road. And will again, but first I need to let all of this sink in. I need to read a full version of the judgement before I join with any cries for Wray to go. He is so entwined with Saracens as a professional team, I'm still struggling to grasp the club going on without him, but if there is no successful appeal, it must be so.

I am afraid it is not an appeal but a review, it is not trying to overturn the guilty verdict, but to reduce the damage (it may also get worse). Saracens are guilty that is not up for debate, it was a detailed 9 month investigation and then handed to an independant panal of some of the most highly qualified and experienced people possible to make a non judgemental decision. Not only are Wray et als chances of revokation slim to none, but it only makes things worse nomatter the result. Wray is a man proven with no honour, he is a cheat, he escaped in 2015, but has now been exposed. What enrages me the most is that so much good has been done by Sarries in charity and community work by his employees. but he has perminantly damaged it all because is ultimate aim was to get silverwear and success not only through illegal means, but also causing damage to all other clubs - and all those involved with them- in the league!

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
BACK TO BLACK 07 November, 2019 20:21
I haven't raised this before but this thread is prompting me to do so.
Hiding behind the "we don't know the hard facts of this" is a poor excuse for defending Nigel Wray and any connected persons
Yes, he loves the club and yes he's pumped in millions but
He is a multi-millionaire who is powerful and has influence and like many similar folk pushes the boundaries because he feels he can and will get away with it
He's now been caught and the club, players, fans, staff and rugby generally is paying the price to varying degrees
Comparisons with Quins bloodgate are way out of line. This is far worse and impactful
I am going to get along to AzP and support the players and community that gathers around Saracens but I might bring a rather large banner expressing what I feel about Nigel Wray and his cavalier approach to the rules
I am giving the players involved the benefit of the doubt because their job is to put their bodies on the line week in week out and they have agents who do the "money stuff" please let that be true
I just feel sick about this and almost need to come to AzP and speak to fellow fans over a few beers.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
fatheralice 07 November, 2019 20:54
as the other threads seem to have been closed, I'll post here, although maybe a little off topic.

Owen Slot in the Times today raises the issue of offshore payments to players for image rights. I've not seen it reported before, but does raise yet more questions.

Quote:
Slot in the Times
"The independent panelís ruling stated that Saracens, as well as exceeding the salary cap for three successive seasons, had ďfailed to disclose payments to playersĒ. The details of those failures to reveal the full extent of their payments to players is yet to be revealed but evidence has been presented to investigators about the clubís use of image-rights payments to offshore accounts."

Wray's claims that the report found them not to done anything deliberately, has noticeably not been verified by PRL.
The above snippet, raises serious doubts over the veracity of that statement.

To get back on topic,

I agree with others, I can't see a future for Wray. For the good of the game, and the club he loves, he needs to set aside his ego and step aside, accepting whatever consequences that brings to Saracens.
If that means he goes out shooting, and causes a few more casualties amongst other clubs, I'd not be too concerned. The game will be better for it in the medium to long term.

I'm afraid the reputational damage done, and the gulf between him and the other PRL members looks beyond repair.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Quin Kong 07 November, 2019 21:08
There was also a conference call between a number of chairman today, an announcement will be made after the results of the review come out.



QUIN KONG

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
St Just Man 1 08 November, 2019 07:33
I write as a former front row forward who played to divisional standard for 15 years and Cornish Pirates supporter.
Iím sorry for you supporters but Wray and the club have cheated and a double relegation and a £5 million is the minimum your club should be given.
Mr Wray in his actions since have done your great club no favours whining and wriggling he broke the rules end and why did 2 of your directors resign in the last 3 months?
I also read some nonsense on here about their only being 13 clubs able to be in the Premiership what utter nonsense, Exeter have come up through the system and when S4C is complete so could we and so could others given a fair chance.
But if clubs like yours cheat nobody will have a chance and thatís a fact and for the last few years itís been common knowledge your club has cheated and the RU have been too lenient. I now hope the club are relegated, Wray leaves and that you rebuild and come back a stronger better club.
Wray has ruined a great clubs reputation I was taught reputations are made over years but can be lost in hours.
I wish you supporters well and hope you get your dignity and good name back.
As for Wray I have no sympathy and the players they will have to be paid within the cap. If you canít afford them then off they go live within your means Mr Wray.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 08:13 by St Just Man 1.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
LutonS 08 November, 2019 08:51
I've been thinking about this since the new broke on Tuesday, I can only speak for myself but here's where I am with it , and it doesn't look good for Nigel.

If we "win" the review / appeal and are exonerated (seems unlikely), other clubs and supporters will continue to point the finger and deem us guilty anyway. Hard to see that Nigel's position is tenable long term.

If we lose the review / appeal we are guilty, end of. Even if we were to put our house completely in order and become squeaky clean, any success we have in subsequent years is likely to be viewed with suspicion from outside. Unless there is a clear change of culture, leadership and dare I say, ownership Saracens will always be viewed through the prism of this episode. Nigel's position seems untenable.

The only way I can see a way out is if we get top see evidence the club has hinted at that, that there is precedent for co-investment to be considered outside of the cap by PRL, ideally with any other club. This is the only scenario that means Nigel is completely exonerated. It probably depends on full publication of the panel's findings which seems unlikely at the present time.

I do get why people are still still sticking up for the club, especially without being able to see the report. It does feel like we've just been told we are guilty and that's the end of it, without any evidence being in the public domain, but to be realistic, it's hard to see this episode having a happy ending.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
wombles222 08 November, 2019 09:04
Quote:
LutonS
I've been thinking about this since the new broke on Tuesday, I can only speak for myself but here's where I am with it , and it doesn't look good for Nigel.
If we "win" the review / appeal and are exonerated (seems unlikely), other clubs and supporters will continue to point the finger and deem us guilty anyway. Hard to see that Nigel's position is tenable long term.

If we lose the review / appeal we are guilty, end of. Even if we were to put our house completely in order and become squeaky clean, any success we have in subsequent years is likely to be viewed with suspicion from outside. Unless there is a clear change of culture, leadership and dare I say, ownership Saracens will always be viewed through the prism of this episode. Nigel's position seems untenable.

The only way I can see a way out is if we get top see evidence the club has hinted at that, that there is precedent for co-investment to be considered outside of the cap by PRL, ideally with any other club. This is the only scenario that means Nigel is completely exonerated. It probably depends on full publication of the panel's findings which seems unlikely at the present time.

I do get why people are still still sticking up for the club, especially without being able to see the report. It does feel like we've just been told we are guilty and that's the end of it, without any evidence being in the public domain, but to be realistic, it's hard to see this episode having a happy ending.

I appreciate your insights Luton, it is not a easy time for you or your fellow Sarries fans, and indeed all of us from the wider rugby family are in support of all Sarries fans, you are the innocent ones caught up in this.

I am afraid though that this is not an appeal, it is a review. It is not trying to overturn the decision made, that being that Saracens have been found guilty of cheating over many seasons. Guilt has already been proven and not up for debate. It is unlikley that the details will be put in the public sphere to read fully due to agreements between all sides. Remember it has also been noted that other financial irregularities were discovered and payments to offshore accounts to players for "image rights" (whatever that means) also alluded to!

A fresh panel will be brought in to review, but given that the original independant panel had some of the highest qualified and experienced people on it, it is hugely unlikley to find any different as a massive injustice or error has to be disscovered to force an appeal. the chances of this are slim to none.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Ricardo121 08 November, 2019 10:31
Quote:
St Just Man 1
I write as a former front row forward who played to divisional standard for 15 years and Cornish Pirates supporter.
Iím sorry for you supporters but Wray and the club have cheated and a double relegation and a £5 million is the minimum your club should be given.

Double relegation now?

Where does that come from ?

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
St Just Man 1 08 November, 2019 11:43
Quote:
Ricardo121
Quote:
St Just Man 1
I write as a former front row forward who played to divisional standard for 15 years and Cornish Pirates supporter.
Iím sorry for you supporters but Wray and the club have cheated and a double relegation and a £5 million is the minimum your club should be given.

Double relegation now?

Where does that come from ?
My personal opinion as stated.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Groovy train 08 November, 2019 12:16
It still appears to me to be totally unclear what exactly has been deemed illegal in this case and as previously stated we will likely not know until the review / appeal has taken place. It is impossible to even comment on whether the proscribed punishment fits the potential crime.

However looking at the Guardian article yesterday and a few other more balanced sources it would appear:
1. The current situation may bring into question the salary cap. The French and Irish clubs are probably the drivers of player wages and it is only through a salary cap and the RFU's insistence that English internationals are based in the UK, that most clubs can supress players wages and working conditions from where an "open market" would take them. Saracens themselves have lost players to France or reportedly had to resist approaches.
2. Relegation for Saracens would not be in the interests of England or the RFU. This situation leads to either international players playing substandard rugby or a deflated and disorganised labour market.
3. Apparently the RFU have not been involved even though they have been advised that the salary cap wording was "sloppy".
4. Any player in the PRL should want Saracens welfare policies to be the norm; the Guardian cites examples of Club chairman's irritation at the cost of injured players and comment that this would never happen at Saracens.
5. Nigel Wray has apparently long railed at the cap compensation for developing players through an Academy and then being faced with rapidly expanding wages if they become internationals. Independent analysis would say Saracens are the most affected by this, followed by Sale. Bath are the least affected. It would be interesting to know how many young Saracens academy prospects left to other clubs for higher wages (what other reason can there be?). Certainly there are at least three at Harlequins. It should be in the RFU's interests to have all academies at the Saracens standard, but from the analysis it would seem to lack financial incentive or all clubs would be fully committed.
6. There is little doubt that Saracens lead the way on player welfare.
7. I suspect that the co-investment policy started with pure intentions, but that an opportunity was recognised to also keep a young team together and what investor wouldn't try to keep as much of the fruits of their academy as they possibly could. The priority of winning European titles against French and Irish teams could have been a key driver. I note Chris Boyd's of Northampton's sympathy on this issue; I suspect its coming his way rather fast. The alternative is to give your investment to your competitors at a seemingly knock down price.
8. Rugby is a complex game with complex rules. When we all bleated about Ritchie McCaw "cheating" at the breakdown, was it logical (leave aside the hand of Neal Back). Most would say you play to the edge of law for maximum advantage; this is the professional way. The laws of the game are constantly being evolved and rewritten to compensate for this. The implication seems to be that the salary cap rules have not followed suit. Either the salary cap wording was broken or it was bent; it shouldn't matter that a multi-millionaire or Neal Back is involved and nobody has any idea what "spirit" of the rules means in practice.

In short it appears that wise heads are going to be needed to get us all out of a fix. Apportioning blame tends towards the hypocrisy the Guardian is alluding to. The game needs leadership to make sure there is maximum alignment on objectives and leaving this to club chairman will mean both the National team and the premiership players will lose out.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
MarchingIn 08 November, 2019 12:46
Quote:
Chris1850
It is unfortunately the case that most clubs rely on a benefactor to be sustainable.

Thanks for the reply Chris, I want to pick up on this point.

Every club has sources of financing that are made on the basis of wanting to help the club, but they often aren't a blank chequebook. Keith Barwell put money into Saints to help the club transition into the Pro era, culminating in winning the 2000 Heinken Cup, but it was ultimately a project to make the club a sustainable top flight side - and he succeeded. Saints made a small profit for 16 years in a row until recently. Tony Rowe achieved similar things with Exeter Chiefs, and both clubs have a title winners trophy they can look at knowing not only did the club fully deserve it, but did it the hard way by beating a side that was cheating to get there.

That is part of my issue with Nigel Wray - the best kind of benefactors leave their club and the sport stronger and better, if he walks away tomorrow, I'd argue he hasn't. Irrespecrive of the damage 2 salary cap scandals inside 5 years have done, after 25 years of pumping money in, Saracens are still not remotely sustainable without his largesse.

Not long ago, the salary cap was £5m +1 marquee. Top money for a big name signing then can't have been over half a million. With Bristol breaking the bank to hand out £1m marquee contracts, the potential wage bill, entirely legally, has effectively risen from £5.5m to £9m in a few years. +63% - that's without the expansion in England and academy credits. The sport is stretched to breaking point and those limits need locking down, not pushing further, but Wray has pushed it all along - opposing a cap existing, and if rumours are to be believed, threatening a legal challenge to it in competition law and to litigate the sport into the ground if salary cap indiscretions couldn't be paid off swept under the rug in 2015... he might have done some great things - and Sarries putting together the top women's rugby side in the country must be applauded for example - but overall he is a malign influence IMHO.

Quote:
Chris1850
The outcome may well be a club bobbling along in the Championship without any money, as you surmise. I think that would be a shame for the quality of the Premiership and, of course, for supporters who have done nothing wrong

Firstly, why are the maybe 8,000ish Saracens fans who are regulars so important in the grand scheme of things? If they went down, another club would stay up and their fans are made happy instead - isn't it something of a zero sum game?

Secondly, they could sort it out themselves. Wray pulling out would be messy - but if the fans locked arms and carried the club forwards, that would truly rehabilitate the image of Saracens. They DO have the fanbase to stay up or come back up without him if they stuck with it. Saints fans renewed season tickets en-masse to propel the club back to the top flight 12 seasons ago and drew a bigger gate than the Premiership average most weeks. It can be done.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
sarricen 08 November, 2019 13:30
I think another question the premiership has to answer now is this: do we as the English care about the Champions Cup?

The simple, undeniable fact is that over the past five years or so the only premiership club who has even made inroads in the knockout stages, let alone won the thing, has been found to have cheated under premiership rules.

Like it or not, this ruling pretty much confirms that currently it is not possible for premiership teams to compete in Europe while abiding by the salary cap system. This is almost an undeniable fact. Thereís no point in mentioning previous English success in Europe with wasps and Leicester as that was over ten yeard ago in a very different time as far as professional rugby goes

So the question to ask is as the premiership, do we care? Are we happy to sacrifice our competitiveness in Europe in order to have a more competitive league? Or should we instead change the salary cap to make our clubs more competitive in Europe but at the expense of Potential sustainability and the competitiveness of the premiership?

What would CVC and sponsors think? It is all well and good to have a competitive league but if year in, year out our clubs never make headway in Europe it unquestionably damages the brand.

What would the RFU think? The big game experience gained by Sarries players in the sharp end of the champions cup has unquestionably helped Englandís cause. How would the RFU feel if English clubs are no longer competitive in Europe? Would we drift behind the Irish, for example, or the french, whose players are used to playing in such high pressure environments with their clubs.

None of this is looking to excuse what sarries did. We were wrong and we are guilty. I just think this is an angle that hasnít really been discussed and is one that PRL seriously needs to look at as a matter of urgency. What direction does the league take? Sustainability (questionable) and domestic competitiveness (unquestionable) or European success from top English clubs. Sarries over the last five years proved that we cannot have the best of both world without cheating, so right now is the moment of reckoning to choose our direction

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
HonkyTonk 08 November, 2019 13:37
With no cap I could see chaos. Sarries and Bristol would trott out teams of 23 internationals week in week out and walk it. There would be no competitive league, just the richest sides romping home. They may be competitive in Europe but the domestic league would resemble English or Scottish or Spanish or Italian football, where basically only 1 or 2 sides (those with the most cash) walk it. You would then also have a few of the other sides trying to keep up, and ruining themselves in the process. But Sarries and Bristol would be fine. You only have to look at Prem finances now!!

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Chris1850 08 November, 2019 13:44
Quote:
HonkyTonk
With no cap I could see chaos. Sarries and Bristol would trott out teams of 23 internationals week in week out and walk it. There would be no competitive league, just the richest sides romping home. They may be competitive in Europe but the domestic league would resemble English or Scottish or Spanish or Italian football, where basically only 1 or 2 sides (those with the most cash) walk it. You would then also have a few of the other sides trying to keep up, and ruining themselves in the process. But Sarries and Bristol would be fine. You only have to look at Prem finances now!!

Agree 100 per cent.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
JFPC 08 November, 2019 14:35
Quote:
sarricen
I think another question the premiership has to answer now is this: do we as the English care about the Champions Cup?
The simple, undeniable fact is that over the past five years or so the only premiership club who has even made inroads in the knockout stages, let alone won the thing, has been found to have cheated under premiership rules.

Like it or not, this ruling pretty much confirms that currently it is not possible for premiership teams to compete in Europe while abiding by the salary cap system. This is almost an undeniable fact. Thereís no point in mentioning previous English success in Europe with wasps and Leicester as that was over ten yeard ago in a very different time as far as professional rugby goes

So the question to ask is as the premiership, do we care? Are we happy to sacrifice our competitiveness in Europe in order to have a more competitive league? Or should we instead change the salary cap to make our clubs more competitive in Europe but at the expense of Potential sustainability and the competitiveness of the premiership?

What would CVC and sponsors think? It is all well and good to have a competitive league but if year in, year out our clubs never make headway in Europe it unquestionably damages the brand.

What would the RFU think? The big game experience gained by Sarries players in the sharp end of the champions cup has unquestionably helped Englandís cause. How would the RFU feel if English clubs are no longer competitive in Europe? Would we drift behind the Irish, for example, or the french, whose players are used to playing in such high pressure environments with their clubs.

None of this is looking to excuse what sarries did. We were wrong and we are guilty. I just think this is an angle that hasnít really been discussed and is one that PRL seriously needs to look at as a matter of urgency. What direction does the league take? Sustainability (questionable) and domestic competitiveness (unquestionable) or European success from top English clubs. Sarries over the last five years proved that we cannot have the best of both world without cheating, so right now is the moment of reckoning to choose our direction

Raising the cap might enable a few English teams to be competitive for a few years, the league would suffer and more teams would go bust. Medium to long term things would not improve, each time a rich benefactor died or their circumstances/interests changed the affected club would have a good chance of going bust. The RFU would not be able to afford bankrolling the entire league so who knows where we would end up, but I think the first priority should be making the game financially viable.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
sarricen 08 November, 2019 14:42
Quote:
JFPC
Quote:
sarricen
I think another question the premiership has to answer now is this: do we as the English care about the Champions Cup?
The simple, undeniable fact is that over the past five years or so the only premiership club who has even made inroads in the knockout stages, let alone won the thing, has been found to have cheated under premiership rules.

Like it or not, this ruling pretty much confirms that currently it is not possible for premiership teams to compete in Europe while abiding by the salary cap system. This is almost an undeniable fact. Thereís no point in mentioning previous English success in Europe with wasps and Leicester as that was over ten yeard ago in a very different time as far as professional rugby goes

So the question to ask is as the premiership, do we care? Are we happy to sacrifice our competitiveness in Europe in order to have a more competitive league? Or should we instead change the salary cap to make our clubs more competitive in Europe but at the expense of Potential sustainability and the competitiveness of the premiership?

What would CVC and sponsors think? It is all well and good to have a competitive league but if year in, year out our clubs never make headway in Europe it unquestionably damages the brand.

What would the RFU think? The big game experience gained by Sarries players in the sharp end of the champions cup has unquestionably helped Englandís cause. How would the RFU feel if English clubs are no longer competitive in Europe? Would we drift behind the Irish, for example, or the french, whose players are used to playing in such high pressure environments with their clubs.

None of this is looking to excuse what sarries did. We were wrong and we are guilty. I just think this is an angle that hasnít really been discussed and is one that PRL seriously needs to look at as a matter of urgency. What direction does the league take? Sustainability (questionable) and domestic competitiveness (unquestionable) or European success from top English clubs. Sarries over the last five years proved that we cannot have the best of both world without cheating, so right now is the moment of reckoning to choose our direction

Raising the cap might enable a few English teams to be competitive for a few years, the league would suffer and more teams would go bust. Medium to long term things would not improve, each time a rich benefactor died or their circumstances/interests changed the affected club would have a good chance of going bust. The RFU would not be able to afford bankrolling the entire league so who knows where we would end up, but I think the first priority should be making the game financially viable.

I think the end game for all of this will eventually be central contracting from the RFU and a system similar to Ireland and their provinces. I hope Iím wrong but thatís the only sustainable system I see

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
LutonS 08 November, 2019 14:55
Quote:
sarricen
I think the end game for all of this will eventually be central contracting from the RFU and a system similar to Ireland and their provinces. I hope Iím wrong but thatís the only sustainable system I see

Have you seen the financial mess the RFU are in?

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
sarricen 08 November, 2019 15:19
Yea but they will eventually right themselves, especially once the new stand is paid off in like five or six years I think. Am I right in thinking theyíre only really in this mess because of the new stand and just a couple too many prawn sandwiches here and there?

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Topofthepole 08 November, 2019 17:27
Think of the Exeter fans that have lost to you three times at Twickenham in the final.
Especially last year when we were winning but as fans we thought we had been beaten in the final minutes by a better team.
Only to find out now that we were the better team for the future of rugby because we haven't CHEATED.
All your silverware is now tarnished.
BT Sports will have to stop announcing you as the Champions of everything. Saracens will now be known as the Cheats for years and years to come.

A very upset Exeter Chiefs Fan.
See you all at ours on the 29th. Have good Christmas!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/2019 10:46 by Topofthepole.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Marlow Nick 08 November, 2019 18:20
I'm confused by the arguement several posters seem to make that it's essential for England that we have players used to winning European cups and also it's essential that they play together week in week out.

This seems to be a proposal to copy Jaguars in Argentina. Firstly if this is such a good model then why are New Zealand and South Africa ranked above Argentina? Secondly who voted for Saracens to be the chosen ones?

Personally I think the best way to Exeter, Bath and Leicester members of the England squad experience top quality European success is to give each club one or two of Saracens 29 internationals. That would help have 3 or 4 clubs compete in the knock out stages of the cup. Maybe it would also help the Saracens players develop if they have to work harder to win league matches.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
MarchingIn 08 November, 2019 18:27
Quote:
sarricen
I think another question the premiership has to answer now is this: do we as the English care about the Champions Cup?
Like it or not, this ruling pretty much confirms that currently it is not possible for premiership teams to compete in Europe while abiding by the salary cap system. This is almost an undeniable fact. Thereís no point in mentioning previous English success in Europe with wasps and Leicester as that was over ten yeard ago in a very different time as far as professional rugby goes

So the question to ask is as the premiership, do we care? Are we happy to sacrifice our competitiveness in Europe in order to have a more competitive league? Or should we instead change the salary cap to make our clubs more competitive in Europe but at the expense of Potential sustainability and the competitiveness of the premiership?

Firstly, I'm not surprised you got a fruity answer or two to this. Asking a question that starts "as the Premiership..." the very week half of the sport has decided they'd rather you were booted out of it is... Brave? Presumptuous?

The other bit that interests me is why only allowing Saracens to have it their way is the answer? Why has it got to come down to "can you just let us spend what we like?"

The cap is good for the game in most respects. Like the idea you cheated, it doesn't matter that this is partly subjective and down to opinion, the opinion is strong enough one way to essentially make it a fact.

However, English clubs no longer competing (after you stick to the rules) is a risk to the tournament. The way I see it, there are two potential solutions to that which bear discussion:

1. The Premiership attempts to do something without undermining the domestic league. This could be the blunt approach (A) or the holistic approach (cool smiley:

A - we can all have perhaps 2 additional players outside the cap that can only play in cup competitions in any given season. That would be a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 14 games - 3 pool Premiership Cup Games, plus QF & final, and 6 pool games in the European tournament plus, QF, SF and final.

That would be a case of do it if you want & it would allow the likes of Sarries to outspend French clubs legally in Europe whilst other clubs can send weaker teams out in the cups and still hope to beat you in the league.

B - cap the permitted playing time per player in blocks of games in the Premiership. Every club has several players essentially paid to train and carry tackle bags. If we were all sticking to the rules and were forced to rotate to lighten the load for the top players, it wouldn't be unfair, but would allow top players to peak for the big games. Sarries competitive advantage from circumventing the cap isn't that your first 23 is better than Exeter, there's nothing really in it - it is the strength of your overall senior squad that allows you to rotate your key players into their best form.

2. Europe tries to do something to level the playing field entirely - shorten the domestic seasons by playing straight through the European windows, and then play all the European competitions at the end, like Super Rugby. Take away the cap for Europe, and allow Champions Cup sides to interchange a limited number of players on a commercial basis with Challenge Cup sides if they want to.

So, if Ospreys didn't make it to the big cup, a rich side like Saracens could come along and pay them a fee to borrow George North and lend them Rotimi Segum, for example. The Welsh and Irish unions might have reservations because they arguably benefit most from the current season structure owing to central contracts and a ringfenced league, but placing a few of their Internationals from smaller regions into the biggest clubs to give them a run at a Championship might actually benefit them at a national level - the danger is, we would end up facing SuperLeinster and SuperMunster, bolstered with the best Connaught and Ulster players, which is why it would need limiting to a fixed number, also not to lose the essential identity of a team. Another side effect of this approach would be that it could lead to split contracts - e.g. Saracens and Worcester combine to sign a top Saffa and he gets £350k under the cap to play for Worcester in the Prem and £350k outside it to play for Sarries in Europe - arguably subsidising Worcester signing him. That would need very careful thought.

There are ways to come at this without screwing up the Premiership though.

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
cwrich 08 November, 2019 18:29
Quote:
Marlow Nick
I'm confused ...
Personally I think the best way to Exeter, Bath and Leicester members of the England squad experience top quality European success is to give each club one or two of Saracens 29 internationals. That would help have 3 or 4 clubs compete in the knock out stages of the cup. Maybe it would also help the Saracens players develop if they have to work harder to win league matches.

You certainly come across as confused ... perhaps you would like to have another go ? winking smiley

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Shouting Prarie Dog 08 November, 2019 19:07
It really seems that many on this site are in denial (maybe understandably) and squirming whilst trying to defend what is a kick in the b*lls to other teams players, officials and supporters.
Saracens as a club are a busted flush and deserve everything that is comimg to them. It is particularly hard for the Saracens supporters as they will bear the brunt of the jeering and derision that will undoubtably be directed against their team. Those in denial deserve it. The others who accept their clubs wrong doings do not.
I hold a season ticket at Chiefs and feel deeply bloody angry that we have been cheated in two finals, maybe three.
Saracens supporters should remember the dissapointment of the Chiefs supporters and the glee that they as Saracens supporters felt and showed. Well, that glee and the opposite dissapointment is based on a lie. A cheating of the system and rules that Saracens as a club agreed to uphold.
Any review that Wray tries and maybe turns to his or Saracens advantage will not sway the other clubs supporters. As I said Saracens are a busted flush. The club will be rightly held in contempt whatever the outcome of the review.
Saracens relegated? Its what you/they deserve.

And maybe you should change the main photo on your site. That is also based on a lie.



Just a farm team from Devon.
We know who we be!

The lowest depth to which people can sink before Truth is defined by the word 'God'.

Pawel Vygot. 2018

Re: SOS (Save our Saracens)
Marlow Nick 08 November, 2019 19:15
Quote:
cwrich
Quote:
Marlow Nick
I'm confused ...
Personally I think the best way to Exeter, Bath and Leicester members of the England squad experience top quality European success is to give each club one or two of Saracens 29 internationals. That would help have 3 or 4 clubs compete in the knock out stages of the cup. Maybe it would also help the Saracens players develop if they have to work harder to win league matches.

You certainly come across as confused ... perhaps you would like to have another go ? winking smiley

What don't you understand?
Saracens must comply with the cap. The only way that is possible is if you release about 11 of your 29 internationals. That's 1 extra international for each club. Suddenly the league is more competitive because Saracens are weakened and the other 11 clubs have a better squad so a better chance in Europe.

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