Saracens will not let stars go to comply with salary cap

London (AFP) –


Saracens chairman Nigel Wray has insisted the club's all-conquering team will not have to be ripped apart after being deducted 35 points and fined more than £5 million ($6 million) for breaching the English Premiership's salary cap.

The reigning English and European champions are appealing against the penalty after a nine-month investigation concluded they had broken the rules.

Saracens boast a star-studded squad including Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola, who started the Rugby World Cup final for England last weekend.

However, Wray believes those that have come through the club's academy will stick by Saracens.

"Just to clarify, there's no obligation whatsoever to get rid of any players," Wray said in a video published on the club's official Twitter account.

"If you think it's about money, you're wrong.

"It's about caring, it's about love, it's about working together, and I'm very proud of all of our players and indeed everybody at Saracens.

"I'm proud of their achievements and I hope there will be many, many more achievements on the field and off."

Wray is accused of contravening the cap by entering into co-investment deals with players.

Some of those to have lost out on titles to Saracens over recent seasons have even called for stricter punishments to be imposed such as relegation or title stripping.

Exeter Chiefs have lost the Premiership final in the past two seasons to Saracens.

"They should be automatically relegated," the Chiefs' chairman Tony Rowe told The Times newspaper.

Former England captain Chris Robshaw accused Saracens of "cheating".

"The game we love is in the world eye and the pinnacle of English rugby is illegal. I think it puts our sport in a very dangerous place," said the Harlequins flanker.

"This is cheating to a certain extent and it's not a good situation for our sport to be in."