Alex Lozowski, Duncan Taylor and Alex Good celebrate in fancy dress as retro sports stars. Orange Twickenham on Saturday, the Saracens got the chance to paint the city red on Sunday as they celebrated perhaps the sweetest of their six Premier League titles.
As Manchester City are now figuring out, Saracens' past success was overshadowed by an asterisk cloud denoting widespread suspicion of financial fraud. The cloud eventually turned into a storm that nearly swept the club away with relegation to the Championship, a £5.36 million fine and the ostracism of owner Nigel Ray. Now there are no stars and no doubt that the Saracens are worthy English champions.
However, when Owen Farrell put an end to that tumultuous contest against the Sale Sharks, Jackson Ray, who played the last match of his 14-year career with the Saracens, immediately returned to those dark days immediately after the salary cap scandal, when the very existence of the club was under pressure. question. “I remember we sat down as players and said, 'We're going to be back at the top of the game.' We don't know when, but we'll get there,” Ray said. “It hit me as soon as the whistle blew. I thought about the path I had to travel to get here. Nobody gave us anything. It seems pretty sweet.
“I don’t think people talk about it enough [the extinction of the Saracens]. It was the biggest fine in the history of sports in a game where you lose money every year. Let's put this into perspective for a moment. And we got through it. Honestly, that says a lot about the owners.
“They said, 'We made a mistake and we will stay and make it right.' Together we made it. We have contributed as players; stayed and fought and went against everyone. Even today. Everyone was with Sale. Every club in the country has been with Sale. You know? That's how we like it. That's how we've always liked it. Nobody wants us to win, and we don't care.”
However, as much as the Saracens want to borrow the Millwall mantra, they are becoming an increasingly easy team to admire with their expansive style. This is, as Elliot Daly admits, “not the usual Saracen way”, based on a low-risk, high-impact strategy. When the stakes were at its highest in the final, the Saracens did not return to type, but instead ripped Sale apart with a combination of corner kicks and a hard pass in Ivan van Zyl's decisive effort with nine minutes left.
Jamie George (right) dressed as an English cricketer. Photo: Instagram/Jamie George
“We saw some of the best rugby we've played all year,” said defender Alex Good. “Sometimes in the first half it didn’t quite work out. In the second half it would have been easy to get into the game they wanted and just shoot on goal, shoot on goal. However, we kept playing, kept going and kept trying to be better. I believe this is what ultimately helped us get through it. There was a brilliant defense at the end, but before that it was necessary to show courage and courage in order to continue playing.
“Sometimes you can do it all year long when there is no pressure, and when the hardest moments come, you just get tense. We didn't, we kept on and on. It wasn't perfect, but gosh, we played great rugby and fought defensively when it mattered.”
Another defining moment came when Sale led 25-23 and saved a light shot on goal, scoring a shot into the corner where Itohe derailed their forward shot attempt. “It was supposed to be a big moment in the game,” Itoye said. “If they had scored there or crossed the line, they would have put their chest forward and would have left us with a lot of work.” Five minutes later, a great botched performance by replacement Duncan Taylor and the accusation of Joe Carpenter saw Elliot Daly score his second attempt to reclaim the Saracen lead.
Saturday night's festivities proved to be a warm-up for the main retro sports costume event party through the streets of west London. Good led the attack dressed as Bjorn Borg, who had previously earned himself a small slice of rugby immortality, ending a 72-hour binge in his kit (and fanny pack) in the 2019 European Cup Final.
time, but I will not be in full gear and fanny pack,” said Good. “It's just for those European days. In the next few days, I will probably talk about any paternity. Lucy is well aware of this, so I came early.
“These are special moments in the dressing room. There is a group of people who have been working so hard every day since July 1 last year. It will be special to be with this group because you are the ones who did the hard work. It's a special thing when you enjoy those group victories.”