European Failures Down To Salary Cap – McCall

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Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, is adamant that the salary cap in England is having a real impact on the country’s clubs, especially in European competitions. McCall’s Saracens were the latest Premiership side to be dumped out of Europe after a comprehensive 22-3 defeat to Clermont Auvergne in their Heineken Cup quarter-final.

McCall made it clear the Londoners were never in with much of a chance when looking at the sheer quality that the Clermont squad is packed with, something the higher French salary cap allows. The Top 14 side never looked in danger of failing to reach the semi-finals, as they blew aside the hosts’ fairly feeble challenge.

Brock James’ 17 points with the boot, adding to Lee Byrne’s try, ensured a miserable afternoon for Saracens fans. The Sarries registered their only points of the match through an Owen Farrell penalty midway through the first half.

The French side were dominant throughout, proving that English clubs have some way to go if they are to keep up with their big-spending rivals across the Channel.

While the defeat ended the Saracens’ European adventure for another season, it also capped the failure of all Aviva Premiership sides to make the final stages of either the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge. There are, however, a number of Irish teams in the former competition; check out the Heineken Cup tips to see who they are.

Saracens chief, McCall, was under no illusion as to the reason behind the rift in quality between English and French sides: “you could almost see the difference in the salary caps as you looked down on the pitch at various times today, there is no question about that.”

"The squad they were able to bring is outstanding and the stats don't lie. It is getting increasingly difficult to get into the quarter-final stages."

"For England to have absolutely no involvement in the semi-finals of the Amlin or the Heineken Cup speaks for itself," added the Irishman.

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