England and Saracens no. 8 Billy Vunipola has spoken out about the salary cap scandal, which rocked his club to the core and saw them relegated from the Gallagher Premiership in 2020.
However, rather than own up to his club's mistakes, which included multiple seasons of breaching the salary cap, Vunipola - speaking on The Big Jim Show podcast - feels that his wildly successful Saracens were hard done by.
“Obviously, it was a witch hunt. It felt to me like it was only because we were so successful that clubs came after us… owners, whatever you want to call it.
“I was hurt by it. The first day they gave us 35 points (deduction), I was unbelievably excited by it. I was like oh my gosh, we are going to do this lads, which is why I was so hurt by it when they’ve turned around and said, ‘we’ve doubled your points deduction’.
“I remember to myself thinking I’m never going to leave. I think I talked to you on RugbyPass? I remember thinking I’m going to stay here, this is my club, this my team. Which it is. It will always be my team."
Billy Vunipola Not Happy With Saracens Relegation
“With Covid, everyone had to sign a deal," continued Vunipla. "Not everyone knows this but the Covid-deal was on a Thursday I think, a random Thursday, and you had to sign it by Monday.
"So you have a weekend to think about it, whether you’re willing to take a massive pay cut and whether you’re willing to sign a paycut for three or four years, not knowing what the salary cap is going to do, not knowing what money might or might not be there.
“So it was a big decision for a lot of people which is why you saw a lot of movement last year. It was the last year of people leaving [Saracens]. Now you’ve got the last year of people like [Luke] Cowan-Dickie and [Sam] Simmonds now leaving."