Saracens salary cap breach not as clear-cut as it seems: McCall

London (AFP) –


People may have to revise their opinion of Saracens once all the facts surrounding their breaching of the salary cap have emerged, their director of rugby Mark McCall told BT Sport on Wednesday.

The English and European champions were docked 35 points and fined over £5 million ($6.4 million) last week for breaching the Premiership's £7 million salary cap for the past three seasons.

The punishment is presently in abeyance until their appeal is heard and a final verdict delivered.

This provoked virulent reactions from their rivals with Exeter Chiefs chairman Tony Rowe -- whose side have been beaten by them in the past two Premiership finals -- calling for them to be relegated.

Harlequins' Danny Care -- England's second most capped scrum-half with 82 caps -- went further and said they should stay down for three seasons in other words the same amount of time they had been caught cheating.

"People are entitled to their opinions, of course they are," said McCall.

"When they read and they hear the club have been found guilty of what they have been found guilty of, you can understand how they feel.

"Things are never as black and white as they are and I don't think too many people know too much about all the facts of the case, but I am sure it will come out in due course."

McCall, who has guided Saracens to five Premiership titles and three European Champions Cup trophies in almost a decade in his role, admitted "lots of people" would see their success as having been tarnished but in his eyes it has been built on a strong system within the club.

"Having been here for the last 10 years and seen the hard work of our playing group and staff and the growth of our playing group from 14-year-olds through to British Lions, for us -- and hopefully others will realise this -- we have never shouted from the treetops about what we've won," said the 51-year-old Northern Irishman.

"It has been more about what we've built and the relationships that exist here and the relationships I have with our coaches, staff and playing group is something I cherish.

"I guess the big challenge for us now is to see how we respond to this and can those relationships, which we've worked so hard on over the last 10 years, be as strong in two or three years time, so that will be the real test for us."

McCall and Saracens -- who brushed aside the punishment by beating Gloucester in the Premiership last Saturday -- open the defence of their European title away at Racing 92 this weekend.