Guinness Premiership
Sarries forced into contract U-turn
March 19, 2009
Chris Jack of Saracens runs with the ball during the Guinness Premiership match between Saracens and Harlequins at Twickenham  in London, England on September 6, 2008.
Contracts for players such as former All Black Chris Jack will reportedly be honoured by Saracens © Getty Images

Saracens have reportedly been forced in to a u-turn over their recent high-profile 'sacking' of 15 players.

The Premiership side, that will be coached by Stormers defence coach Brendan Venter next season, recently told 15 members of the playing staff that their services would not be required beyond this season. Saracens are co-owned by a South African consortium and there were fears that the club would become little more than a South African feeder club.

According to The Times however, the club has been advised that any severance pay for the players must be drawn from the £4m salary cap set aside for player wages. With big names such as Chris Jack, Cencus Johnston and Glen Jackson all requiring reimbursement for the final years of their contracts, the proposition is untenable for the club's management.

The players received a letter confirming the reversal after their recent loss to Harlequins at the Stoop on March 7, drawing into doubt whether a budget remains for the players to be released from the club.

"Those payments [payoffs] have to be included in the salary cap," a spokesman for Premier Rugby told The Times.

The Professional Rugby Players' association has been actively involved in the dispute between the players and Saracens, and their chief executive Damian Hopley has confirmed that they have received word that the contracts will now be honoured.

"The assurances we've had from the club is that contracts will now be honoured and the players looked after," he told The Times. "Some players don't want to continue playing for the club and others want to sit down with them. There's a lot of confusion."

Director of rugby Eddie Jones has already left for a position in Japan after a disagreement with the board leaving assistant coach Richard Graham in charge of the side until the end of the season.


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