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Saracens must take ‘difficult’ Championship seriously says Wigglesworth as dream ends

PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 September 2020

Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.

Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.

PA Archive/PA Images

Richard Wigglesworth has urged his Saracens team-mates not to treat life in the Championship next season with contempt following their European heartbreak.

Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth during the Gallagher Premiership match at the Allianz Stadium, London.Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth during the Gallagher Premiership match at the Allianz Stadium, London.

Saracens’ hopes of a fourth Heineken Champions Cup title in five years evaporated on Saturday as Juan Imhoff’s late try gave Racing 92 a 19-15 semi-final victory in France.

It was Saracens’ last visit to rugby’s top table for a while after their relegation from the Gallagher Premiership for breaching salary cap regulations.

And former England scrum-half Wigglesworth – who is leaving Saracens after 10 years in north London and admitted he was a “bit of a mess” after the final whistle in Paris – had a sobering message for his colleagues.

“The Championship will be difficult,” Wigglesworth said.

Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth breaks through the Leicester defence to score the first try during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth breaks through the Leicester defence to score the first try during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.

“The large majority of the squad will play the large majority of the games. If you want to be a Saracens player and you p*** about in the Championship you will not be a Saracens player for the next 10 years.

“It is pretty obvious you will not get away with that because Ealing and the other teams have improved really well and are fully professional.

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“The future is bright because the academy has done it the right way, but Owen (Farrell) and Maro (Itoje) have this level of what it requires to be a Saracens player, and you might need a few of those boys to get them over the line.”

England stars Farrell, Itoje, Jamie George, Elliot Daly and the Vunipola brothers, Billy and Mako, are among Mark McCall’s squad who have committed to spending next season in the Championship.

But the likes of Ben Spencer, George Kruis and Liam Williams have already left Sarries following the salary cap scandal, and Wigglesworth and captain Brad Barritt will also depart after the 2019/20 season comes to an end this week with the last two games at Worcester in midweek and against Bath at Allianz Park on Sunday (3pm).

“I was a bit of a mess afterwards,” Wigglesworth said of the semi-final defeat.

“It hit me and I am sure it will be an emotive week for myself and more so for Brad.

“He has been here 12 years, the captain who has basically lifted every trophy we have ever won and it is a joke what he puts his body through.

Wigglesworth, 37, joined from Sale in 2010 and has played over 200 games for Saracens, but he admitted: “I have some options to sort out in the next couple of weeks. I’ve been intensely focused on what I have been doing, but now I need to do what is best for me and my family and make a good career decision.”

Five penalties from Alex Goode put Saracens 15-12 up with five minutes left last weekend, before Finn Russell’s chip kick found Virimi Vakatawa to put Imhoff away for Racing’s winning try.

They will take on Exeter in the final on October 17.


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