Rugby

Dylan Hartley Rips Saracens In Entertaining Fashion

Dylan Hartley Rips Saracens In Entertaining Fashion

Dylan Hartley described as "ignorance and arrogance" the behaviour which saw Saracens relegated from the Premiership.

The reigning English and European champions were earlier this season found to have breached salary cap rules. They were subsequently fined and docked points, enough to ensure they will drop to the Championship at the end of the season.

"Elite players always had suspicions," former England captain Hartley told BBC during their Six Nations coverage on Sunday.

"It was almost an in-house joke. As a player, your job is to play, not to be a rugby politician. It was very frustrating from that aspect.

"Me, more than anyone, knows that if you do something naughty, you get in trouble. But I never did the same thing over and over again. My eight bans were all different things; my criminal versatility was unbelievable.

"From what I know and what I've read, and I hope it's fact, they've done the same thing over and over again. For me, it borders on ignorance and arrogance to keep doing the same thing.

"As a player who played against them numerous times, it is frustrating, it is deeply frustrating.

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"For years, they were the leading light in squad rotation. I had friends who played there that booked weeks off and went on holidays. I never understood it because Northampton got every minute out of me when I wasn't playing for England or suspended.

"I earned my money. They had the options to be able to rest, rotate, put an international in for another international. We had academy graduates playing when we had injuries. Squad rotation was not really a thing [at Northampton], we put out the best 15 or 23 that we had. We didn't have the options that Saracens had. It is frustrating to look back at it."

Former France international Thomas Castaignède, who joined Saracens 20 years ago and spent the best part of a decade at the club, defended their actions saying, "I cannot believe that this thing happened the way the papers want to say."

"I agree that Nigel Wray is a great charitable guy but he's done the wrong thing," responded Hartley.

"I'd like to think that I'm a good guy but I did some wrong things and you get in trouble. They have done the wrong thing over and over again.

"You talk about these guys that regular England players, no doubt they are talented but they've been brought up in an environment with the biggest squad to develop faster and play with better players where other clubs don't have that opportunity.

"As an England player at Saracens, this is exactly where you want to be. Even the Championship, I don't think will affect those players; if anything it will be a well-needed sabbatical, something that England players do not get.

"They might end up playing 10 games for England, a couple of games in the Championship. Someone like Owen Farrell, for the longevity of his career, that will be great for him.

"It's all the other players who are not England players with contracts, it's all the staff at Saracens, it's all the backroom staff, the people that you don't see that are going to be affected by this."

See Also: The British Media Reaction To Ireland's Underwhelming Win Over Scotland

PJ Browne
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