Saracens now lie stone cold last in the Premiership table with an astounding minus -77 points. Anyone who saw their game against Harlequins at the weekend witnessed a clearly de-motivated, startled team unrecognizable, in both personnel and attitude from the all conquering machine of last season. It is really is a remarkable story, yet one that I, personally, feel increasingly numb to the significance of.
Further deepening the all pervasive sense of crisis is the fact that Saracens’ interim Chief Executive, Edward Griffiths, has resigned with immediate effect after just a month in the role. His departure comes just five days after the England and Wales Cricket Board began investigating him for working as an unregistered agent in his activities with Middlesex Cricket Club. From bad to worse and beyond.
“This was always going to be a very short-term appointment, and others are well-placed to drive forward the rebuilding of the club,” Griffiths has said, but surely a mere 26 days was not the short term role he had in mind?
Saracens may put a brave face on it, but the club as we know it is in turmoil, one from which it may never fully recover. Reputationally, this is a cataclysmic event, and one that shows no sign of relenting.
For Premiership Rugby too, this farce does not reflect well. They have enforced the 70 point points dock as a reaction to new legislation put in place only after Saracens misdemeanors had become apparent, and only after they had been formally relegated from the league. This feels like posturing. Why deduct 70 points from a team you have already relegated? It feels juvenile and incompetent, and from a management perspective Premiership Rugby has flattered to deceive throughout.
Where now? Well, for Saracens, the Championship. Many will delight in this fate, but it says more about the failures of Premiership Rugby and the arrogance of the club than anything positive for English rugby. On to the more traditional and comforting waters of the Six Nations.
Written by Joe Ronan.