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Mark McCall confident Saracens will get through "challenging period"

Mark McCall confident Saracens will get through
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The director of rugby is determined to keep his squad as united as possible.

Mark McCall says everyone at Saracens is aware of the need to be patient in pursuit of answers over the club's long-term future.

The Allianz Park side have appealed against a 35-point deduction in the Gallagher Premiership and a fine of more than £5million for breaching salary cap rules for the last three seasons.

While there remain plenty of questions, director of rugby McCall is determined to focus on on-field matters ahead of Sunday's Heineken Champions Cup opener at Racing 92.

Saracens won last season's Champions Cup
Saracens won last season's Champions Cup (David Davies/PA)

He said: "I do think we all understand that we need to be patient for those answers. Those answers don't just come in 24 hours and we understand that, so for now we just get on with the rugby.

"We get on with preparing well, keeping the group together and that is what we plan to do.

"I am not saying it is easy or straightforward, but because we've had a lot of cohesion at this club and continuity, there are some strong relationships and I believe that will see us through what will undoubtedly be a very challenging period."

The 51-year-old admitted the biggest task facing him is keeping the squad united for the tests ahead, which could potentially include trying to avoid relegation.

He added: "I think that's my responsibility from the club, that's my clear direction from the club, and in the meantime the club will deal with everything else.

"We need to carry on what we're doing at the training ground and that's to prepare for rugby matches and keep this brilliant group of players and brilliant staff as united as they can be."

After winning the Premiership and Champions Cup last season, Saracens could be involved in a scrap to stay up this time around if they are deducted 35 points.

But McCall defiantly insisted: "A challenge is a challenge. It's a hell of a challenge – if the points deduction stays what it is – to try and avoid relegation, and it's a challenge we haven't had to experience before as a group.

"It is one which we will get our head around and relish if we have to do that, but we don't know that for definite yet."

Mark McCall discussed Owen Farrell's return to action
Mark McCall discussed Owen Farrell's return to action (Graham Stuart/PA)

One issue McCall will welcome is the task of re-introducing those who played at the World Cup.

Some have trained this week and he hinted a few could be involved at Racing this weekend, but England captain Owen Farrell is unlikely to be among them.

"Owen and I have had a long chat," McCall said. "He shouldered a lot of responsibility in that competition and I don't know what it's like to lose a World Cup final.

"We need to give him as much time as he needs to come back and be fresh to play for us and to relish playing rugby again.

"We will make sensible decisions on an individual basis on what is right for the player and the club, but we'll be putting strong teams out every week."

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Saracens head coach Mark McCall pictured on May 11, 2019
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