Mark McCall: Saracens international players have 'clear view' on future plans

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has said the international players in the squad already know where they plan to play next season. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has said that the international players on his squad "had a very clear view" on whether they wanted to stay or leave the club and that many of their plans "coincided" with what the club wanted as well.

Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season as a result of repeatedly infringing the league's salary cap rules, it was announced on Saturday.

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"I'm not going to go through individual players with you but we've met I would say three quarters of the squad so far," McCall said at a news conference on Wednesday.

"I think the international players had a very clear view on what they wanted to do, all of them. Luckily enough that coincided with what we wanted as well.

"Everyone has got their own unique situation. We've discussed what they want, what we want, what next year might look like, what the year after might look like and we've got a plan and we're making good progress."

McCall confirmed England head coach Eddie Jones and British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland had been involved in discussions regarding the international players.

"I think Eddie is on the whole happy to select players who are established, Warren Gatland the same," McCall added. "A lot of our international players are proven international players. You've seen New Zealand players having sabbatical type seasons. It would be like that."

"I think Warren Gatland is keen to get as fresh a Lions team as possible to take to South Africa and certainly our situation, in a funny kind of way, is going to help him I think. A lot of these players have been on a treadmill for a long period of time and they get short off-seasons because they are always on tour.

"They play a lot of games during the course of a season and most of our established internationals are 27, 28. So they are at that stage where they have been on this treadmill for 10 years and I think they are seeing it as a positive where next year can be one where they are freshened up, physically recover and get better, play enough rugby and go on a Lions tour at the end of it fresh. Which is not normal."

McCall admitted that the situation may be different for some of the less established internationals such as uncapped back-row Ben Earls who was named in Jones' 2020 Six Nations squad.

He added: "Their situations are clearly a little bit different and we have had those conversations with those players and had those conversations with Eddie as well. Their situations are different."

In November, Saracens was docked 35 points and fined £5.3 million after an independent disciplinary panel found that they had failed to disclose payments in the previous three seasons.

Saracens chairman Neil Golding released a statement on Wednesday saying he fully supported the release of the report into the club's breaches.