Owen Farrell and his fellow Saracens received the backing of their England colleagues on Friday at a frank meeting in Vilamoura to bury the hatchet ahead of the Six Nations. The England captain and his club-mates were assured by their team-mates that they will not be personally held responsible for their club’s shameful salary-cap-busting behaviour.
“I think the biggest thing is that it is not a player issue. We don’t blame any of the players – it all goes above them,” said flanker Sam Underhill.
“You can’t hold anything against them. And even if that was the case, we are with England now and you put club stuff to one side – I imagine it is the best place for them to be.”
With seven Saracens in the national squad in all there were concerns that their involvement in the biggest scandal to have ever hit English club rugby would create a split.
The 30-minute players-only meeting, held in the dining room of the Browns Sports Resort where the squad is staying and training, was led by Farrell and designed to head that off.
“The tone of the meeting was that there is obviously an elephant in the room,” said England wing Jonny May.
“Everyone spoke who needed to speak. It was not just the Saracens.
“We reinforced to them that they have got our support, nobody thinks badly of them or nobody judges them.
Jonny May has revealed he came home from Japan to a council tax court summons rather than a hero’s reception after losing the World Cup final.
May, back in camp with England for the first time since in Portugal, told yesterday how he was brought back to earth with a bump after England’s adventure in the Far East.
“You go home and you have got to cook your breakfast and do your washing and have God knows how many letters from the council tax office and a summons to court. You have to call them up. It’s like: ‘Oh cheers, welcome back’,” said May.
“I am just a number, whatever my reference number was – one of lots of numbers. Life goes on and it does take a bit of time to get things back in order. You tick one job off your list and it creates two more.
“You will never get to the bottom of your to-do list but I am not going to court any time soon. That was one of the priority ones.”
Published at Fri, 24 Jan 2020 22:00:00 +0000