LONDON -- England coach Eddie Jones has said playing in the Six Nations is the best thing for the Saracens players involved amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the club.
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 Saturday. The club were deducted 35 points in this season's league table and fined £5.3 million in November after an independent disciplinary panel said the club failed to disclose player payments in each of the last three seasons.
Seven Saracens players were selected for Jones' 34-man Six Nations squad on Monday, while their club futures remain up-in-the-air with the north London side needing to offload players to reduce the club's annual salary expenditure, and Jones believes the Six Nations will be a welcome distraction for them.
"It's a massive opportunity," Jones told a news conference. "For the Saracens players coming to England it's the best thing for them. Do what they love doing, what they love doing which is playing rugby. They're playing for their country, who they love playing for."
When asked about what he expects the mood to be like in training camp amid the storm surrounding his club, Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell said: "We don't know about atmosphere. We haven't met up as a squad yet. We'll be honest and upfront about it."
Farrell's father, Andy, who will lead the Ireland team for the first time as head coach when they face Scotland on Feb. 1, said the Saracens salary cap scandal could benefit the England squad.
"I think Eddie will use it to galvanise them." Farrell said.
The older Farrell added he had not offered any advice to his son Owen regarding his club future.
"I've not got an opinion" Farrell said. "As a parent, its sensitive anyway.
"There's a lot of questions still to be asked and answered. I'm sure that will come out in the not too distant future. I'll have an opinion then."