Saracens’ relegation won’t affect Quins’ approach

Relegated Saracens will begin a 14-game journey to the Championship when they tackle Harlequins on Sunday.

The reigning English and European champions’ demise was confirmed by Premiership Rugby last weekend following non-compliance with the £7million salary cap this season.

It came on the back of them being docked 35 league points and fined £5.36million in November for salary cap breaches across the last three campaigns.

Lying 18 points adrift of 11th-placed Leicester, that is now an irrelevance, with clubs like the Tigers and Wasps, in 10th, knowing they are safe from being dragged into any relegation dogfight.

With Saracens down, it is likely to mean a surreal atmosphere at the Twickenham Stoop, where Quins will continue jostling for a top-six place.

“As always, it will be a keenly-contested match,” Quins head of rugby Paul Gustard said.

“We have great respect for Saracens as a rugby team and know we will have to be at our best to get the result we want.

“Both sides have equal numbers of players out due to injuries or internationals. We want to continue to develop our game and move on up.

“We’ve had another good week training in preparation for this match, and we are confident going into the game.”

Brad Barritt
Brad Barritt will captain Sarries (Paul Harding/PA)

Chris Robshaw returns to captain Quins, while Matt Symons and Stephan Lewies forge the second-row combination and centre Paul Lasike is back after injury.

Saracens show six changes in the pack, with only prop Vincent Koch and number eight Jackson Wray remaining following last weekend’s victory over Racing 92 that secured a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final place.

Manu Vunipola and Richard Wigglesworth team up again at half-back, and Alex Lozowski returns to midfield duties alongside skipper Brad Barritt.

The bench, meanwhile, includes academy pair Callum Hunter-Hill and Joel Kpoku, with Elliott Obatoyinbo poised for a possible Premiership debut.

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