Saracens: Loyalty of staff ‘saved the club’, says boss Mark McCall
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall says the loyalty of staff “saved the club” during their enforced season in the Championship.
Sarries were relegated in 2020 after breaching salary cap rules but won the second-tier title last term.
They beat champions Harlequins 34-17 to return to the Premiership final next week in their first campaign back.
“The resilience and the response and the effort of the team was remarkable really,” McCall told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“We’ve had a tough two-and-a-half years and I’m unbelievably proud of the group, whatever happened today, about the way we’ve responded to what’s happened in that two-and-a-half years.”
The win over London rivals Harlequins was Saracens’ first top-flight play-off game since they beat Exeter at Twickenham to win the 2019 Premiership title.
An investigation found them to have breached the Premiership’s salary cap rules in 2017 and their title-winning campaigns of 2018 and 2019.
They were initially fined £5.36m and docked 35 points before being relegated to the Championship in January 2020 because they were unable provide proof of immediate cap compliance.
Last year they won an abridged second-tier season, losing just one game, and carried that momentum on into this season where they won 17 and lost six of their regular-season matches to end the league campaign in second place.
The victory over Quins means Saracens have reached their sixth final in their past eight Premiership campaigns – having won four of those trips to Twickenham.
“It was a problem of our own making, and we accept that and mistakes were made,” added McCall.
“But 99% of the people who work in the organisation were not responsible for what happened and they all had a reason to go, an excuse to leave if they wanted to, and they didn’t.
“In lots of ways that staggering level of loyalty saved the club to be honest.”