Saracens fan Louise Warr argues support and innovation more important to Sarries stars than big pay packets
Once again the subject of the salary cap has raised its head.
Northampton Saints’ chairman Leon Barwell has become the latest person to step forward and accuse fellow teams of cheating the system.
London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith has also raised concerns in recent months, with his opinions being quickly challenged by those in the know.
The difference however is that Barwell’s suspicions were aimed very firmly in the direction of Saracens, with the addition of another club.
Although clubs were not named directly, the finger was pointed in the direction of the Men in Black by claiming that he did not believe that players were at clubs because of ‘something special’ happening there.
Saints and Sarries will never be the best of friends, there is too much water under the bridge for that, but there is no need for accusations or back biting either.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I am sure Barwell has reason to make statements like these, but the relationship between the two teams obviously does not help the situation.
It would almost be more understandable if Saints were a club struggling at the bottom of the table, but they are not, they are consistently a top performer in the Premiership, who are not short of a star or two within their line–up themselves.
So, in reality, how possible is it for Saracens’ to operate underneath the salary cap?
Sarries pride themselves on being different and innovative, and one of the things at the forefront of their mission to shake up the Premiership is their player development programme.
A rugby career is relatively short and extremely fragile; you just have to look at the recent news of Bath’s Lee Mears’ retirement to understand that.
What the player development programme does is enables players to prepare for their lives after rugby from very early on in their careers, whether that be through university, work experience or courses in more hands on subjects such as woodwork.
Having a future planned out, relieves some of the stress that can occur later on, whether the end is in sight or not.
Then there is the feel good factor that is surrounding Sarries at the moment, a brand new stadium, three bonus-point wins in three weeks, top of the Aviva Premiership for the first time in three years, the impending LV=Cup semi-final and the quarter-final clash with Ulster in the Heineken Cup appearing on the horizon.
It is quite easy to see why somebody could be happy at the club and in the era of professional sport, happiness is often forgotten about. Players are just regular people, like you or me.
There is always the possibility that money is not the be all and end all of matters.
The opportunity of playing at a club where not only themselves but their families as well are treated incredibly well has the ability to be a massive draw factor.
Criticism will always be directed at Saracens - nobody ever said leading the way would be an easy path.
In a way, the negative comments, the salary cap jibes, the negativity surrounding the artificial turf and the age old not a “proper rugby club” accusations are a compliment.
People are afraid of things that are different and nobody can disagree Saracens are certainly that.