Eddie Jones will encourage his players to voice their grievances over the Saracens salary-cap scandal when the England squad assembles before the Six Nations.

Rugby World Cup finalists England are due to begin a seven-day training camp in Portugal on Thursday ahead of their clash with France on February 2.

Jones confirmed he would hold clear-the-air talks in a bid to root out any tension stemming from the Sarries' salary-cap breaches, which resulted in a £5.36million fine and relegation from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje were among seven Sarries stars named in a 34-man England squad on Monday.

"We have got to get everything out on the table," Jones told reporters. "It's common sense. Say what you feel.

"If players are angry about it then say it. At the end of the day, there are 34 players that all want to play for England. Their job is to get ready to play for England.

"We will help them sort it out. I don't envisage any problems at all, in fact I think it is an opportunity for the team to get tighter. They wouldn't be in the squad if they weren't in the right mindset."

Jones admitted the meeting might not reach an easy resolution as England seek to move forward in the aftermath of their World Cup heartbreak against South Africa.

"We are not robots," he said. "You don't know how long it is going to take. It could take longer, but we will sort it out.

"We have got players from potentially 12 different clubs - 12 different ideas of what is right and what is wrong.

"We are like a family around the dinner table, someone wants to have pasta for dinner and the other one wants to have rice. They have a debate and that is ongoing in the national team."

Billy Vunipola looks set to miss the entire Six Nations after Saracens confirmed the England number eight suffered a broken arm in their European Champions Cup victory over Racing 92.

Vunipola was hurt in the early stages of Sunday's contest at Allianz Park, with fears he had suffered a fracture that would lead to a lengthy lay-off.

In a statement on Monday, Saracens confirmed the 27-year-old had broken his arm for the fourth time in the last two years.

Although the European champions did not put a timescale on his recovery, it appears certain Vunipola will miss the Six Nations, which runs from February 1 to March 14.

Saracens' statement read: "Billy Vunipola has suffered a broken arm.

"He will see a consultant over the coming days to determine the full extent of the injury before undergoing rehabilitation."

The news also represents a significant blow to Sarries, who have endured a nightmare week with confirmation of their impending relegation from the Premiership due to salary cap breaches.

With the club set to play in the second tier of English rugby in 2020-21, the futures of their England internationals, including Vunipola, have come under scrutiny.

Billy Vunipola is a major doubt for England's Six Nations campaign after sustaining a suspected broken arm on Sunday.

The number eight went off in the sixth minute of Saracens' 27-24 victory over Racing 92, a result that proved sufficient to ensure the week in which it was confirmed they would be demoted from the Premiership after breaching salary cap rules ended with progression to the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Vunipola has previously broken his right arm twice and his left arm once in the past two years and looks set to miss out on a place in Eddie Jones' Six Nations squad, which is set to be announced on Monday.

"They suspect a broken arm," said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. "I hope it's not. I don't think it's been confirmed yet."

The 27-year-old featured in every England game as they finished as 2019 Rugby World Cup runners-up to South Africa.

England begin their Six Nations campaign away to France on February 2.

Saracens will face Leinster in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals - a repeat of last season's final - after the scandal-hit London club finally found something to smile about.

Breaches of Premiership Rugby's salary cap have seen Saracens hit with a severe punishment, with the club told on Saturday they will be demoted from the top tier of English rugby at the end of the season.

Their domestic achievements and their dominance of the Champions Cup, which they have won in three of the past four seasons, have come in for fresh scrutiny since it emerged Saracens had broken the rules.

Director of rugby Mark McCall told his players to set the off-pitch problems aside on Sunday, and a dramatic 27-24 win over Racing 92 proved enough for Saracens to book a last-eight place after Gloucester lost 35-14 to Toulouse later in the day.

Owen Farrell booted a match-winning late penalty for 14-man Saracens, who had Will Skelton sent off in the first half and lost Billy Vunipola to an arm injury.

Two tries from Maro Itoje and one from Mako Vunipola were countered by Racing, whose five-pointers came from Virimi Vakatawa, who dotted down twice, and Louis Dupichot.

Saracens led 17-7 at one stage but were 21-17 behind at the break, turning the game around with Itoje's second try before England captain Farrell nailed a 75th-minute penalty.

At the final whistle, Saracens were not sure of their place in the quarter-finals, with a two-hour wait until that was confirmed.

Racing beat them to top spot in Pool 4, and to grab one of the three last-eight places allocated to the best runners-up Saracens needed Gloucester to fall short against Toulouse.

The Cherry and Whites were well beaten in France, going down by five converted tries to two at Stade Ernest-Wallon, with Romain Ntamack running in two of the Top 14 side's scores.

It means Saracens face another appointment with Leinster, the team they beat 20-10 at St James' Park last May to be crowned European champions.

This time Saracens must travel to Dublin to tackle the 2018 Champions Cup winners.

During Leinster's run to European glory two years ago, Saracens lost away to the Irish outfit in the quarter-finals.

Sunday's other matches involved teams whose run in this competition is over for another year, with Munster beating Ospreys 33-6 and Montpellier grabbing a thrilling 35-29 success against Connacht.

 

Quarter-final line-up (ties to be played on April 3-5):

Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92
Toulouse v Ulster
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints
Leinster v Saracens

Mark McCall has made it clear he intends to remain with Saracens following their relegation, but the director of rugby acknowledges the future of his club's biggest stars may be influenced by England head coach Eddie Jones.

A Premiership Rugby statement on Saturday confirmed Sarries will be demoted from the top flight at the end of the 2019-20 season, following multiple breaches of the competition's salary cap.

Six members of the England team that started last year's World Cup final play for European champions, including captain Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola, with significant uncertainty now surrounding their futures.

The London club will not be eligible to play in next term's Champions Cup once they are in the second tier of English rugby, meaning the likes of Farrell and Itoje face a year away from elite club competitions should they stay put.

In an interview with BT Sport ahead of his team's crunch clash with Racing 92 on Sunday, McCall said: "Obviously the news has just come in the last 48 hours, so there's a lot of thinking for us to do and a lot of decisions to make.

"And every player's situation is slightly different - what happens to our established internationals? What does Eddie Jones want to happen to our established internationals, et cetera. et cetera.

"But those decisions and those conversations I think are for another day. Today we just try and get on with the rugby."

Asked about his own future, McCall added: "The one thing now, it feels like there's a line drawn in the sand. We have some real clarity around the future and we can plan for that future and I really want to be part of that.

"I don't think this is the best time to be pointing fingers or trying to apportion blame. This is a time for unity and togetherness. We've got this remarkable playing group who over the last 10 weeks have shown, I think, an incredible amount of resilience given all of the stuff that's been going on off the field."

Saracens have promised to "come back stronger" after the European champions were relegated in disgrace from the Premiership.

The club who won English top flight and European Champions Cup top honours last season will spend next term in the second-tier Championship, after years of salary cap breaches finally caught up with them.

Saracens were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for breaches over each of the past three seasons.

And on Saturday, a second swingeing punishment was announced when Premiership Rugby (PRL), the league's governing body, announced Saracens would be automatically demoted at the end of the current campaign.

The star-studded Saracens squad looks destined to break up, given the unappealing prospect of at least a year in the Championship and no European rugby.

Years of success have come at a high price, and now Saracens have no option but to swallow a bitter pill.

Saracens said in a statement on Sunday: "The board of Saracens wishes to unreservedly apologise for the mistakes made in relation to the salary cap regulations. Our goal is to rebuild confidence and trust."

Former England fly-half Andy Goode claimed on Twitter that the Premiership Rugby ruling against Saracens meant "justice has been served and now we know they have cheated beyond belief".

The club's name will be blackened for many, and their successes - including three Champions Cup wins in the last four years - will be widely considered as tarnished.

The Saracens statement continued: "Following open and frank discussions with PRL, we have accepted the unprecedented measure of automatic relegation from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-2020 season.

"We understand this decision will be difficult for the Saracens family to accept. The board must embody the values of the club, learn from its mistakes so the club can come back stronger.

"It is in the wider interests of the Premiership and English rugby to take this decisive step, to ensure everybody is able once again to focus on the game of rugby, which we all love.

"We hope that we can now start to move forward, begin to restore confidence and over time, rebuild trust with PRL, its stakeholders and the wider rugby community."

The London club are bottom of the Premiership table on minus seven points but have the joint-best record in the division with six wins in eight matches this term.

Six Saracens players started for England in their World Cup final loss to South Africa in November, including national team captain Owen Farrell.

He and international colleagues Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola may be among those considering their future with the club.

Premiership Rugby recently launched an independent review into the salary cap as a result of the Saracens saga, which will be led by former Treasury minister Lord Myners.

Saracens are facing up to a potential player exodus after the worst-kept secret in the Premiership was confirmed with the announcement the London club are to be relegated for breaching salary-cap regulations.

The London club were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for flouting the rules in each of the past three seasons, and currently sit bottom of the Premiership.

However, after talks between Premiership Rugby and Saracens in the aftermath of the initial punishment, the club will now drop down to the Championship for 2020-21.

It throws up huge doubts over the future of some of the Premiership's biggest names, who have all tasted success with Saracens over the club's recent period of dominance – including a domestic and European double last term.

Six Saracens players started in England's Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa - including captain Owen Farrell - while Vincent Koch featured for the Springboks in that match.

Meanwhile, Liam Williams, a regular for Wales in the tournament, has already started the departures, having agreed to rejoin Scarlets at the end of the season.

Following the news of Saracens' impending relegation to the second tier, we take a look at the star names who seem destined to become available.

Owen Farrell

Sure to be in demand is England skipper Farrell has spent his entire senior career with Saracens, having made his debut aged 17 in 2008, becoming - at the time - the youngest player to appear in an English professional rugby union match. He has gone on to become one of the world's best players, winning the Six Nations twice with England as well as five Premiership titles and three Champions Cups with Saracens.

Maro Itoje

Having won four Premierships and three European Champions Cups at club level by the age of 25, Maro Itoje is expected to be a man in demand. The British and Irish Lion, who plays lock or blindside flanker, should still have his best years ahead of him but is already an established international player, having won two Six Nations trophies and helped England to the World Cup final last year as part of his 34 caps. He has spent his whole professional career at Saracens.

Mako Vunipola

The elder Vunipola brother joined up with Saracens from Bristol in 2011 and has made 110 appearances, scoring 15 tries. He made his England debut in 2012 against Fiji and has been a key player for club and country ever since. 

Billy Vunipola

Two years after his sibling had signed for Saracens, Billy Vunipola followed suit. He has played in 71 Premiership matches for Sarries, with 15 tries to his name and has featured in just 11 defeats. Internationally, he has made 51 Test appearances for England.

Elliot Daly

The versatile back - who has featured in 42 Tests for England - only joined Saracens from Wasps in 2019 ahead of the current Premiership season. He has scored 13 tries for England and one in four Premiership appearances so far for Saracens.

Jamie George

Like Farrell, George came through the ranks at Saracens and made his first-team debut just a year after the England captain. He has made over 150 Premiership appearances for the club, starting 83 times and accumulating 125 points from 25 tries. At 29, it seems unlikely the hooker will be wishing to drop into the Championship.

Vincent Koch

Signed in 2016, Koch has scored three top-flight tries during his time with Saracens, making 48 Premiership appearances in total. The prop did not start for South Africa in November's World Cup showdown in Japan, though came on early in the second half to help the Springboks to a 32-12 victory.

Will Skelton

Former Australia lock Skelton was linked with a move back to the southern hemisphere last year before signing a new deal. He has scored three tries for Saracens since joining, and made 18 Test appearances for the Wallabies between 2014 and 2016.

Defending champions Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season, Premiership Rugby has confirmed.

Sarries, who won the English top flight and the European Champions Cup last season, were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for breaching salary cap regulations in each of the past three seasons.

The London club are bottom of the Premiership table on minus seven points but have the joint-best record in the division with six wins in eight matches this term.

However, after talks between the governing body and Saracens in the aftermath of the latter's initial punishment, it has been decided they will drop down to the Championship for next term.

Recently appointed Saracens chairman Neil Golding said: "I acknowledge the club has made errors in the past and we unreservedly apologise for those mistakes.

"I and the rest of the board are committed to overseeing stringent new governance measures to ensure regulatory compliance going forward."

Premiership Rugby has launched an independent review into the salary cap as a result of the Saracens saga, which will be led by former Treasury minister Lord Myners.

Chief executive Darren Childs said: "Premiership Rugby is prepared to take strong action to enforce the regulations governing fair competition between our clubs.

"At the conclusion of dialogue with Saracens about their compliance with the salary cap regulations, it has been decided that Saracens will be relegated at the end of this season."

Childs added: "The actions that we have taken – dealing with breaches of the current regulations and reviewing the system for the future – will help us to build a stronger league and uphold the confidence of supporters."

Six Saracens players started for England in their World Cup final loss to South Africa in November, including captain Owen Farrell, but a star-studded line-up now looks certain to be broken up.

On Sunday, Sarries face Racing 92 in the Champions Cup, where victory will virtually secure progress to the knockout stages.

Farrell is joined in the starting XV by England colleagues Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola, and a run in this season's tournament is likely to be a last hurrah for this collective.

Even if they win Europe's top competition for the fourth time in their last five attempts, Saracens' Championship status will mean they are barred from entering next year.

Defending champions Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season, Premiership Rugby has confirmed.

Saracens kept their European Champions Cup defence alive despite Rhys Carre's early red card at Ospreys, while Clermont Auvergne, Toulouse and Exeter Chiefs booked quarter-final spots.

Prop Carre was shown a straight red card for a shoulder-led tackle on Dan Evans just four minutes in, but the reigning champions went on to claim a crucial 22-15 triumph at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Fly-half Manu Vunipola was successful with his six efforts from the tee, which consisted of five penalties and the conversion of Alex Lewington's try off Richard Wigglesworth's box kick.

Sarries consequently moved up to second in Pool 4 and three points behind Racing 92, who face Munster on Sunday.

A battling 31-31 draw with Glasgow Warriors was sufficient for Exeter to reach the last eight for just the second time in their history, with only the crossbar denying them the win via a 60-yard Stuart Hogg penalty beyond the 80th minute against his former club.

Tommy Seymour touched down in the opening minute as the Warriors surged into an early 14-3 lead, but Matt Kvesic's double helped ensure the Chiefs got a bonus point and progressed as Pool 2 winners.

Second-half tries from Alivereti Raka and George Moala led Clermont from behind to a 29-13 win at home to Ulster, the Top 14 side taking control of Pool 3.

Toulouse guaranteed a last-eight berth by winning 21-7 at Connacht. Jerome Kaino, Julien Marchand and Pita Ahki cross for the visitors, who were reduced to 13 men in the closing stages when Zack Holmes saw red for a dangerous tackle after Yoann Huget was sent to the sin bin.

Gloucester lost Danny Cipriani to injury after 12 minutes but remained in contention to advance as one of the three best runners-up with a 29-6 bonus-point win against Montpellier.

Ben Morgan, Louis Rees-Zammit and Todd Gleave marked their returns to the starting line-up with tries, the latter coming after Paul Willemse was shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul.

Neil Golding has been appointed as Saracens' new non-executive chairman following Nigel Wray's retirement last week.

Long-term chairman Wray stepped away from the club with immediate effect, two months after Sarries were docked 35 Premiership points and fined £5.36million for breaching salary cap regulations.

A statement on Thursday said the "immediate priority" for Golding, a Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer lawyer, was to "oversee new governance measures including steps to ensure regulatory compliance".

Sarries have the joint-best record in the Premiership this term but sit bottom of the table on minus seven points as a result of their punishment.

Golding said: "It is an honour to be appointed chairman of Saracens.

"The success of this great club is rooted in its commitment to the development of talent through its coaches and academy system, player welfare and making a positive impact within its community to create lasting memories.

"I am excited to help build on this wonderful legacy. I also recognise that I am joining the club at a time of significant change.

"We, as a board, are strongly committed to introducing new robust processes and working together with other PRL stakeholders in the best interests of Saracens and English rugby."

European champions Saracens have confirmed they must "restructure" to comply with salary-cap rules, and players are close to learning if the squad needs immediate trimming.

The London club were docked 35 Premiership points and fined £5.36million in November for breaching regulations on their salary outgoings.

Their squad is stacked with world-class talent, with England captain Owen Farrell one of a host of well-paid internationals, and speculation has centred on whether star players will be sacrificed to ensure the club are compliant.

Interim chief executive Ed Griffiths, who returned to Sarries this month after leaving in 2015 following a seven-year stint, confirmed the club are close to reaching a final decision on what steps are required.

"We're in a scoping exercise at the moment to identify exactly what needs to be done," Griffiths said.

"Clearly the planning was done on the basis that certain transactions would not be included in the salary cap.

"The [independent disciplinary] panel's findings have found otherwise, so it's natural that in response to that panel finding we should have to restructure our squad to a certain extent.

"The exact scope of what needs to happen obviously will be conveyed to the players directly first, but we are in the final stages of a scoping exercise to work out what exactly needs to be done."

Saracens, whose chairman Nigel Wray retired last week, have won three of the last four European Champions Cup titles, and four of the last five domestic Premierships.

Griffiths pointed to their successes and Saracens' apology for the breach, saying he hoped the club could "move beyond this situation and return to normality".

Speaking on Sky Sports News, Griffiths said: "Clearly people are aware there is a situation that needs to be addressed and there is a level of uncertainty, and when I spoke to the players last week I said to them that as soon as possible we wanted to bring certainty, clarity and confidence back to their lives.

"But there's no magic wand and I told them it wouldn't be possible to do that in hours, maybe days, possibly weeks but certainly not months either.

"We need to move forward quickly, but we also need to recognise that potentially we're dealing with people, and people [with] families and mortgages. We need to move forward with speed but we'll also move need to forward with care and that's exactly what we'll do."

Saracens remain at the foot of the Premiership table after the swingeing punishment, but they are confident of getting out of trouble after starting the season with six wins from eight games – the same record as front-runners Exeter and Northampton have achieved.

Griffiths related Saracens' position to Arsenal's struggles in football's Premier League, with the Gunners toiling in mid-table.

He said: "I'm no more contemplating relegation than [Arsenal's new manager] Mikel Arteta is contemplating relegation. We're looking from a rugby side at what we can achieve rather than fearing what we might achieve."

Relegation-threatened Saracens bounced back from a defeat to Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs with a 62-5 thrashing of Worcester Warriors, while there were also wins for Leicester Tigers and Gloucester on Saturday.

Champions Sarries have now collected more points this season than Exeter, but a 35-point deduction for breaching salary-cap regulations means they remain bottom of the pile and in the red.

However, the beleaguered the London club are making swift progress in their survival bid and scored 10 tries in rout of Worcester at Allianz Park in a week that saw Nigel Wray resign as chairman.

It was one-way traffic from the outset as Ben Earl opened the scoring after six minutes, with the first of Rotimi Segun's first-half double quickly following.

Brad Barritt and Mako Vunipola also went over before the break, and Sarries matched their haul from the first 40 minutes in the second period.

Richard Barrington, Maro Itoje, Duncan Taylor, Jackson Wray and, finally, in the 81st minute, Elliot Daly got on the scoresheet, with Owen Farrell nailing six conversion attempts.

There was a derby win for Gloucester as they put on a late show to beat Bath 29-15 at Kingsholm.

Rhys Priestland's five penalties had visitors Bath in front until just before the hour-mark, but tries from Gerbrandt Grobler and Ruan Ackermann in quick succession set up an ultimately comfortable victory.

Leicester got a much-needed win as they saw off Bristol Bears 31-18, led by England pair George Ford and Jonny May.

Tigers are only kept off the bottom of the table by Sarries, but a strong start set up a precious second victory of the season in the early kick-off.

Bristol-born Ellis Genge England prop went over with just three minutes played, and May and Ford crossed later in a first half that saw two Bears men sent to the sin bin.

Although Bristol battled back early in the second period, May had his second try with six minutes remaining, while Ford dispatched all four conversions and a penalty to leave Leicester 18 points better off than European Champions Sarries.

Nigel Wray has retired as chairman of European and Premiership champions Saracens.

Wray will step down with immediate effect, two months after the London club were docked 35 Premiership points and fined £5.36million for breaching salary cap regulations.

"As we enter a new year, a new decade, it is time for the club to make a fresh start," Wray said.

"I am not getting any younger and feel this is the right moment for me to stand down as chairman and just enjoy being a fan of this incredible rugby club. I will always be committed to the wonderful Saracens family.

"The Wray family will continue to provide the required financial support to the club, and I will remain actively engaged in the work of the Saracens Sport Foundation and Saracens High School, as part of the club's ongoing commitment to our community in north London."

Saracens revealed a new independent chairman will be appointed to replace Wray in the near future.

Edward Griffiths will take up the role of interim chief executive for a year, while Mitesh Velani will take on a consultancy role and remain on the board.

Sarries are bottom of the Premiership table on minus 12 points and were beaten 14-7 in their last game of 2019 at Exeter on Sunday.

England centre Henry Slade is expected to miss the start of the Six Nations after fracturing his right ankle.

Slade was forced off in the first half of Exeter Chiefs' victory over Leicester Tigers last weekend and sat out Sunday's 14-7 win against Saracens.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter confirmed the centre is facing up to two months on the sidelines.

"Henry has a small fracture to his ankle around the site of the plate he had put in a couple of seasons ago when he fractured it at Wasps," said Baxter.

"The prognosis of anything like that is six to eight weeks of healing time. There's no information at this stage that says it will be quicker or slower than six to eight weeks.

"It's not for me to say for which game exactly he'll be back [for], because things can shorten up considerably towards the end of rehab time or they can relapse at the end, so it's impossible for me to say."

England begin their Six Nations campaign with a trip to Paris to face France on February 2.

Slade has made 27 Test appearances for England and came on as a replacement in the Rugby World Cup final loss to South Africa in November.

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