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Saracens centre Elliot Daly has revealed a meeting in a St Albans pub helped set the wheels in motion for the club making it to another Premiership final.
Mark McCall’s men will face Leicester Tigers at Twickenham on Saturday as they look to become champions for the sixth time in what should be a thriller.
The story is all the more intriguing due to Leicester being the outfit that survived relegation in 2020 at the expense of Saracens due to salary cap breaches.
“It was a very weird and difficult time because there was a lot of murmuring about what will happen and how many points would be deducted,” said the centre.
“We got deducted points and we were going to stay up so they deducted us more points which was what we had to take along the way so it wasn’t something set, it carried on pretty much for the whole season.
“We didn’t really know until we played Racing at home and that was the week we were told we were getting relegated no matter what happens.
“I think for us, I remember meeting in a pub down the road when it all started kicking off and all the senior players were there. We just came back from something, either the Autumn or the Six Nations.
“We sat in the room and we didn’t know what to say at the start because it was a very difficult situation to be able to deal with but we realised that we needed to get the club back to where it belonged and what the best way of doing that was but obviously we still wanted to play for England. That was a hard chat with everyone.”
England head coach Eddie Jones also played a key role in the players remaining at Saracens, saying that playing in the second tier would not harm their chances.
The rest is history as Saracens achieved promotion ahead of Ealing and have now made another Premiership final at the first time of asking since returning.
Daly added: “I think Eddie was actually brilliant when that all came out with us. Mark McCall spoke to him and said ‘what is the craic (sic) here, do they need to go somewhere else for you to pick them?’
“And he basically said he will watch the games, and we didn’t have many games, but he said if we are performing to the level then we will be in camp and be in contention. It was what we needed to hear at that point.
“It was one of those things where we didn’t know what to do or where to be guided so after that conversation it was pretty obvious we all would stay.
“Obviously Nick (Tompkins) had to go, Ben Earl and Max (Malins) because they wanted to play for England so needed to play week in, week out and not be in a season where we didn’t know where our next game is and how many games there will be.
“That was the most difficult thing but after that chat I thought it was brilliant how we all bought in and said ‘that’s it, we will stay here and get us back up then go for it’.”
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