Saracens slumped to a humiliating 25-17 defeat against Cornish Pirates in their first English Championship game of the season in Cornwall on Saturday.
Saracens – four-times Premiership champions and three-times European Cup winners in the last five years – were automatically relegated to the English second division last season for repeated breaches of the salary cap.
But on Saturday, their bid for what was widely assumed to be a near-automatic immediate return to the English Premiership suffered a stunning setback as they suffered a shock loss against Cornish Pirates in their first game of the Championship season.
Saracens were without their England contingent, but still fielded a XV which had seven internationals boasting 165 Test caps between them, including World Cup-winning Springbok prop Vincent Koch.
Yet, despite star power at their disposal, Sarries were unable to put Pirates away and ultimately they were made to pay.
Saracens led 17-15 early in the second half after tries for current and former Scotland internationals Sean Maitland and Tim Swinson and one for Alex Lewington.