In an exclusive extract from his new book, Robert Kitson reveals the true anger and dismay from Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter at the salary cap breaches by their arch rivals Saracens.
“Everyone thought there was something wrong for a number of years,” revealed Baxter.
“But that’s different to it being blatantly exposed. I don’t care what anybody says, it’s not been exposed as a little bit of an accident.
“Even the little bit they found, percentage-wise, makes an incredible difference within your squad. You’re never really needing to lose a player because you can spread the money around and keep everyone happy. People look at it and say: ‘That’s only four or five players.’ It’s not. Not at all. It means you can keep your players on a wage level where it’s not worth them moving to another club.
“I’m not saying Saracens don’t do a lot of things well. They’re well coached and they get the importance of building a good team environment and having a good culture. But on top of that they get to do it with 30 better players than any other squad can put together.
“That’s the bit that has bugged me more than anything else. When I actually found out how deliberately it had been done and for how long … even then there was no apology, not even a hint of one.”
Exe Men: The Extraordinary Rise of Exeter Chiefs by Robert Kitson is
published by Polaris on 26 November
UPDATED | The full list of who’s leaving Saracens and where they’re going…
Here’s our full list of confirmed departures at Saracens following their relegation to the Championship..
Despite losing a number of stars, Sarries have confirmed that England internationals Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Billy and Mako Vunipola have all signed new deals.
CONFIRMED SARACENS LEAVERS
Joe Gray (Harlequins)
Liam Williams (Scarlets)
The blockbusting counter-attacker was due to rejoin the Welsh region at the end of the season but that has been brought forward.
Matt Gallagher (Munster)
The Irish-qualified full-back, 23, joined Munster in July h having had his first taste of Thomond Park in a Champions Cup pool defeat to Johan van Graan’s side on December 7.