Eddie Jones is worried the Saracens players in his Test squad may choose the club over England during the Six Nations after their survival was threatened by a points deduction.
Saracens, the defending English and European champions, were deducted 35 points and handed a £5.4-million fine for breaching the Premiership’s salary cap rules. The club confirmed on Monday that they would not appeal the sanction, throwing them into a fight to survive relegation.
England had nine Saracens players in their 2019 World Cup squad, including captain Owen Farrell, the influential Vunipola brothers, lock Maro Itoje and hooker Jamie George. Other capped England internationals in the Saracens squad include fullback Alex Goode, scrumhalf Ben Spencer and forward Nick Isiekwe.
Jones admits there is a concern his top players may at the very least be distracted by what is going on at club level during the Six Nations.
‘Obviously there may be some dislocation between Saracens players and the rest of the clubs,’ Jones told the BBC. ‘We may have to work to mend those relationships a bit harder and there might be some Saracens players who feel like they’ve got to play for their club instead of their country, to make sure they don’t go down.
‘It could have a significant impact. It’s something we need to weigh up and look at very carefully.’
Saracens are currently bottom of the Premiership table after having their points tally adjusted to -22. That leaves the club 26 points adrift of 11th-placed Leicester Tigers. Last season, the Newcastle Falcons were relegated after finishing with 31 points from 22 games, with the Tigers next-best placed on 41 points.
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