LONDON - Saracens may have to put the defence of their Champions Cup on the back-burner while they fight to avoid relegation from the Premiership after they were hit with a 35-point penalty, coach Mark McCall said.
European and English champions Saracens were docked 35 points and also fined 5.36 million pounds ($6.84 million) by the Premiership on Tuesday after being found guilty of breaching salary cap regulations.
Saracens said they would appeal the punishment and, if upheld, it would leave them bottom of the standings with -22 points and in danger of relegation which would put the futures of key players in doubt.
"We have a plan for the worst case scenario which will affect our strategy around the Champions Cup," McCall told reporters after his side beat Gloucester 21-12 on Saturday.
"If we were to be relegated we need to do some good thinking and some proper planning. There is a Lions tour at the end of next season and we will see. Our job, if the points deduction remains, is to try to stay up and that's what we'll try to do."