Harlequins and England scrum-half Danny Care says Saracens should be forced to play in the Championship for the length of time they broke the salary cap.
Saracens face being docked 35 points and fined £5.36m after an inquiry into business dealings between owner Nigel Wray and some of the club’s players.
Premiership Rugby say Saracens were breaking the cap for three seasons.
“Stick them in the Championship for that long and see if their players stay and want to play for them,” said Care.
He told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast that Saracens, who have a host of star names from England as well as Wales’ Liam Williams, Scotland’s Sean Maitland and South Africa’s Vincent Koch on their books, had long been suspected of acting outside the rules.
“I hopefully speak for every other player in the Premiership, I know for everyone at Harlequins, that everyone kind of knows this has been going on for years and no-one’s ever been able to say anything about it,” said Care.
“In a one-on-one game we know we can challenge them, we know we can beat them on our day, but when you’ve got that much class, that much international experience, throughout the whole season you know in the long run you’re going up against a team that, let’s face it, have been cheating.”
‘It affects people’s lives’
Care was a member of the Harlequins side that were crowned Premiership champions in 2012, an achievement he says was “one of the greatest moments of my life”.
But he believes people within the sport may have had their livelihoods affected because of the dominance of Saracens, who have won the title four times since 2015 and have also lifted the European Champions Cup three times.
“People lose their jobs because they’re not performing well enough because everyone’s saying ‘why aren’t we as good as Saracens?’,” said Care.
“It comes out that that’s happening because they’re cheating. Well it’s not just the hear and now, it affects people’s lives, it affects people’s families, and that’s why so many players have been so annoyed.
“Over the years that it has been swept under the carpet, there was another one previously that got brushed aside, this one has finally come out and finally some justice is being done, although £5m to Nigel Wray won’t even touch the sides.”
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (day two):|
|Middlesex 384 Malan 166; Carey 4-54 & 189-5 Robson 73*, Simpson 56|
|Glamorgan 171 Lloyd 67; Helm 5-53, Roland-Jones 4-45|
|Middlesex (7 pts) lead Glamorgan (3 pts) by 402 runs|
Middlesex have a formidable lead of 402 over Glamorgan at 189-5 in their second innings, going into day three in Cardiff.
Sam Robson (73*) and John Simpson (56) have strengthened the visitors’ grip.
Toby Roland-Jones (4-45) made the most of a helpful pitch as Glamorgan were hustled out for an inadequate 171.
David Lloyd’s 67 was the top home score, while Tom Helm (5-53) wrapped up the innings with his fifth wicket after his first-evening purple patch.
Lloyd shared half-century stands with Billy Root and Chris Cooke before the visitors’ seamers re-established control, as Glamorgan’s last five wickets mustered just 28 runs.
A lead of 213 runs was not enough to persuade Dawid Malan to enforce the follow-on, wanting to avoid batting last on the most bowler-friendly Championship pitch of the season in Cardiff.
Although Middlesex slumped to 85-4, they were never under pressure thanks to their first-innings lead, and the Robson-Simpson century partnership blossomed in the evening sunshine to grind down Glamorgan hopes of avoiding a first defeat of the campaign.
Glamorgan vice-captain David Lloyd told BBC Sport Wales:
“A very difficult day, they hit their lengths more regularly than we did, then we started well with the ball in the second dig but it’s always tough when you’re chasing the game.
“It’s a wicket where you have to be positive and get forward because it’s starting to go more up and down- it’s about looking to score rather than sit there and wait for things to happen.
“We’ve showed in previous games that we can battle draws out so you never know, we’ll have to try to bat the rest of the game and we can do it if we get our mindsets right.”
Middlesex bowler Tom Helm told BBC Radio London:
“It took a bit longer to get the fifth one than I had in my head last night, but Toby had four and I’m very happy with it.
“If you get the ball in the right area, the odd one zips through and it changed a bit from day one.
“There’s so long left in this game, we can bat for as long as we want and it’ll be interesting to see how the morning goes, they’ll come out fired up but we’ll see how we go.”
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood (day one):|
|Middlesex 172: Malan 28; Shaw 4-33, Higgins 3-52|
|Gloucestershire 59-2: Dent 27*; Roland-Jones 2-15|
|Middlesex 0 pts, Gloucestershire 3 pts|
Josh Shaw took three prize scalps as Gloucestershire triggered a Middlesex collapse which put Division Two’s bottom club in trouble at Northwood.
Shaw removed Sam Robson (23), Dawid Malan (28) and Nick Gubbins (26) in his 4-33, and Ryan Higgins took 3-52 as his old club slipped from 98-2 to 139-8.
They were eventually bowled out for 172 before two Toby Roland-Jones wickets in reply lifted their spirits.
But Gloucestershire steadied the ship to reach 59-2 and trail by just 113.
Seamer Shaw’s performance built on his six wickets against Glamorgan in their previous game, as he claimed three of Middlesex’s top four.
His victims included Malan, whose hopes of an Ashes call-up were boosted by a career-best 199 at Derby last week.
However, he top-edged a short of a length ball and Graeme van Buuren ran in to take a fine catch.
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Tunbridge Wells (day three)|
|Kent 309 & 277-3: Denly 111*, Bell-Drummond 79; Pattinson 2-67|
|Nottinghamshire 267: Nash 67, Patel 52; Milnes 5-68|
|Kent (6 pts) lead Notts (5 pts) by 319 runs|
England batsman Joe Denly scored a fine unbeaten century to help put Kent in charge against winless Nottinghamshire at Tunbridge Wells.
Denly made 111 not out off 176 balls as the hosts closed day three on 277-3 in their second innings, a lead of 319.
A 152 stand with Daniel Bell-Drummond (79) took the game away from Notts.
In the morning session the visitors collapsed from 208-4 to 267 all out, with paceman Matt Milnes (5-68) taking a first five-wicket haul of his career.
Denly, who was left out of England’s World Cup squad, had only scored 44 runs in five County Championship innings as he came to the crease at 19-1.
But the 33-year-old rediscovered the form which saw him score more than 2,000 first-class runs and nine hundreds in the 2017 and 2018 campaigns, hitting 13 fours and spending more than four hours in the middle.
Bell-Drummond was also impressive in making his second half-century in 14 innings this season before he nicked James Pattinson behind.
A heavy shower ended play 11 overs early, time out of the game that may well affect Kent’s chances of winning.
Nottinghamshire, who are bottom of Division One, had begun the day hoping of a first-innings lead – but once captain Steven Mullaney was bowled by Milnes to leave them 228-5, the innings folded.
Mullaney’s side are now likely to have to bat for the majority of three sessions on Thursday to prevent a fourth loss in seven matches.
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Radlett|
|Middlesex 151-3 (51 overs): Robson 85*|
|Glamorgan: Yet to bat|
|Middlesex 0 pts, Glamorgan 1 pt|
Sam Robson’s season-best score of 85 not out gave Middlesex a solid start as they reached 151-3 against Glamorgan on a rain-shortened first day at Radlett.
After a lost morning, Robson looked composed in bowler-friendly cloudy conditions, with a green-tinged strip for Radlett’s first Championship game.
Despite an opening stand of 77 with Stevie Eskinazi (31), Robson’s partners looked less assured.
David Lloyd, Graham Wagg and Marchant de Lange claimed a wicket each.
The hosts did well to survive relatively unscathed after being put in to bat by Lloyd.
But Glamorgan’s seamers notched up plenty of near-misses.
Middlesex batsman Sam Robson told BBC Sport Wales:
“It was tough. They bowled well, so it was pleasing. We’re happy with where we’re at.
“We’ve played a bit here and trained here so we knew what it was like. The ground staff have done a great job here considering the weather over the last week and a half.
“There was still good value for shots, so we knew if we could hang in, there were scoring opportunities.
“I’ve not got as many as I would have liked over the last few weeks, so it was good to be back in the runs. Hopefully I can keep going.”
Glamorgan captain David Lloyd told BBC Sport Wales:
“A frustrating day, we did bowl pretty well in parts and probably deserved a couple more wickets. Another day we could have got them five or six down but it wasn’t meant to be.
“We’ll look to go bang-bang in the morning and put the pressure back on them.
“When you come to out grounds you know what to expect. It’s a lovely ground and a nice wicket.
“The lads reacted well because it might have drifted away but we got wickets. It’s a shame we couldn’t have got one more but not a bad day.”
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Edgbaston (day one):|
|Warwickshire 275-8: Norwell 58*, Hain 47; Dunn 3-59|
|Surrey: Yet to bat|
|Warwickshire (2 pts), Surrey (2 pts)|
Warwickshire fast bowlers Liam Norwell and Henry Brookes transformed the first day at Edgbaston as they shared an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 89 to stun reigning county champions Surrey.
After slumping to 186-8 despite gritty knocks from Sam Hain (47), Will Rhodes (39) and Adam Hose (38), the Bears were set to go without batting points again.
Instead, Norwell slammed 58 and Brookes made 35 as Surrey’s attack wilted.
The pair both belted some fine shots to reach the close unparted on 275-8.
That earned two batting points, plus the prospect of a potential third in the morning, which would double the Bears’ previous haul for the season.
Prior to that, on a weather-affected day which brought two separate short breaks in play, injury-hit Surrey’s bowlers had dominated, including three victims for recalled fast bowler Matt Dunn.
After being put in to bat, a painstaking first half-century stand of the season for Bears openers Dom Sibley and Rhodes was ended by veteran spinner Gareth Batty, who removed both in successive overs just before lunch.
But after Dunn had seemingly put Surrey right in control, Norwell, on his home debut, and Brookes transformed the contest in the final hour.
They started to go for their shots when Dean Elgar came on for an over of spin just before the new ball was due – and 17 came from it, capped by two sixes in three balls from Brookes.
But they then kept up the attack, twice taking 16 off an over from South Africa paceman Morne Morkel, thanks to seven boundaries off in the space of 11 deliveries off him from the free-spirited Norwell.
Warwickshire all-rounder Liam Norwell told BBC WM:
“Henry and I are both naturally quite attacking players so we just played out natural game and played our shots and luckily it came off.
“It was a mixture of good shots and a bit of luck. I rode my luck at times but it was just good to be out in the middle with Henry. He is a lot of fun to bat with.
“The lads up top did the hard graft. Now we are in a pretty strong position and we have just got to focus in the morning and try to get up to 300 for that third batting point.”
Surrey fast bowler Matt Dunn told BBC Radio London:
“All day, the bowlers worked so hard together. We knew it was going to be tough but everyone bowled in partnerships and bowled for each other.
“It was a shame that it just got away from us a little bit at the end because we were in a great position but I think we would have taken this at the start of the day.
“It is great to be back in the team. I am so proud to wear the Surrey badge. It is everything to me. It is nice to get out there again and perform.”
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Beckenham (day two):|
|Surrey 439: Jacks 120, Borthwick 95, Clarke 88 & 11-0|
|Kent 294: Dickson 128; Batty 3-49, S Curran 3-54|
|Surrey (8 pts) lead Kent (5 pts) by 156 runs|
Kent collapsed after tea to hand the initiative to defending champions Surrey on the second day at Beckenham.
Kent were 227-2 in response to Surrey’s 439 all out, but fell to 238-6 with Gareth Batty dismissing Heino Kuhn and Ollie Robinson in consecutive balls.
Opener Sean Dickson compiled an excellent 128 for the hosts before he was dismissed by Sam Curran with the new ball as Kent were all out for 294.
Surrey closed on 11-0 in their second innings, leading by 156.
After adding 19 to their overnight 420-9 in the morning, Surrey’s chances of picking up their first win of the campaign appeared to be fading on a pitch that had flattened out under sunny skies.
But 41-year-old off-spinner Batty (3-49) turned the game either side of tea, first bowling Daniel Bell-Drummond for 37 and then finding the edges of captain Kuhn and in-form Robinson.
Right-hander Dickson, who had only made 85 runs in six innings in 2019, looked at ease against an attack that included England all-rounder Curran (3-54) for the first time this season.
However, with wickets tumbling around him, he eventually nicked Curran’s opening delivery with the second new ball behind to leave them 272-8.
Matt Milnes and Harry Podmore did manage to take Kent past the follow-on target of 290, although they face an uphill battle to avoid a third defeat in four matches.