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  1. ITV Report

Eddie Jones: Saracens' 'issue' is opportunity for England to 'get better'

England head coach Eddie Jones has said the relegation of Saracens from the Premiership is an opportunity for his players to "get better".

Premiership champions Saracens face relegation at the end of the season as punishment for breaching the salary cap limit.

The club boasts a host of international stars, including England captain Owen Farrell, flanker Maro Itoje, and front row powerhouse Mako Vunipola.

Head coach Eddie Jones has selected seven Saracens players for his Six Nations squad, but told ITV News the club's "issue" offers England "an opportunity to get better".

Jones said the punishment Saracens face could help "get the squad even tighter".

"If there are any problems related to the Saracens issue, get it out on the table.

"Talk about it, work out a solution".

Pressed on whether it could be a distraction to England players, Jones said: "My experience with good players is that they can always handle the distraction better than the average players and these guys are good players."

The other Saracens stars selected for England (left - right) George Kruis, Jamie George, Elliot Daley, and Ben Earl Credit: PA

Since news broke of their planned relegation, Saracens have "unreservedly apologised for mistakes made" surrounding their breach of the salary cap.

The club said it accepted their imposed relegation as well as expressing a desire to "rebuild confidence and trust".

Premiership Rugby introduced its salary cap in 1999 to ensure the financial viability of all clubs and the competition.

Eddie Jones' squad were left disappointed after losing 32-12 against South Africa in the final of the Rugby World Cup 2019. Credit: PA

Faced with relegation from the Premiership, players in the Saracens squad can continue with the team in the Championship though the draw of higher salaries with teams overseas might look appealing.

England stars who play their rugby overseas, however, are no longer eligible for international selection.

Head coach Jones was unwavering on the choice Saracens players faced: "If you decide to go overseas, you decide not to play for England and that's a choice every player makes."

Facing continued questions on the Saracens' controversy at his squad announcement press conference, Eddie Jones said: "All of that business, that'll get sorted out.

"It's important but the only important thing for those boys now is to get ready to play for England."

The Six Nations kicks off on February 1 with Wales taking on Italy in Cardiff.

Ireland are in action against Scotland in Dublin, while England face a tough start against France in Paris on February 2.