We don’t care – Jackson Wray happy Saracens defied haters with Premiership title

By Sports Desk May 28, 2023

Jackson Wray believes new Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens deserve more respect for emerging from one of the bleakest episodes in the league’s history as a title-winning force once more.

Sale were defeated 35-25 in a gripping final at Twickenham on Saturday as Saracens claimed their sixth domestic crown with captain Owen Farrell producing a masterclass at fly-half.

It provided an element of redemption after they were shaded 15-12 by Leicester in last year’s showpiece, which they reached in their first season back in the Premiership having been relegated in 2020 for repeated salary cap breaches.

As part of their punishment they were fined £5.4million and while some players departed, the bulk of them – including their core of England stars – remained for the campaign spent in the Championship.

The loyalty shown has enabled Saracens to return to the summit of the English game and Wray, who is retiring after 13 years as a professional at his only club, has sounded a note of defiance.

“I don’t think people talk about this enough. It was the biggest fine in sporting history in a game where you lose money every year. Let’s just put that in perspective for a moment,” Wray said.

“And we have got through it. That says a lot more about the owners. They said, ‘we made a mistake and we will stay and put it right’.

“Together we have done it. We have done our bit as players – stayed and fought and gone against everyone.

“Even in this final. Everyone was with Sale. Every club in the land was with Sale. Do you know what? That’s how we like it. That is how we have always liked it. No one wants us to win and we don’t care.

“We want to do well for each other and well for the club because this club has given us everything. It has given me everything for 17 years and the least I can do is pull on this shirt with pride every week.”

Saracens’ celebrations spill over into Sunday, with the squad holding a retro sports shirt fancy dress event in London.

For Maro Itoje victory over Sale has placed the sight of Freddie Burns landing a last-gasp drop goal to clinch the title for Leicester 12 months earlier firmly in the rear-view mirror.

“I’m just happy. Last year we fell short, we got close, a drop goal was a painful way to lose,” Itoje said.

“I was tired of seeing that Freddie Burns drop goal every five minutes on BT Sport! Thank God I don’t have to go through another year of that. All in all, super happy!

“You can’t really hold on to the past too much but going through the pain of last year, I think it is fair to say we have been fairly consistent all throughout the season.

“Even when the internationals were away, the guys again stepped up. And obviously we have a few internationals, so those guys have been fantastic.”

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