Rugby-Mighty Saracens cut down to size by Cornish Pirates

European superpower Saracens suffered a stunning setback in their first taste of life back in the second tier English championship on Saturday as they were beaten 25-17 away by Cornish Pirates in their first game of the new season. Saracens, four-times Premiership champions and three-times European Cup winners in the last five years, were relegated last season as a punishment for multiple salary cap breaches.

Reuters | Updated: 06-03-2021 23:48 IST | Created: 06-03-2021 23:48 IST
Rugby-Mighty Saracens cut down to size by Cornish Pirates

European superpower Saracens suffered a stunning setback in their first taste of life back in the second tier English championship on Saturday as they were beaten 25-17 away by Cornish Pirates in their first game of the new season.

Saracens, four-times Premiership champions and three-times European Cup winners in the last five years, were relegated last season as a punishment for multiple salary cap breaches. Although the majority of their international players were absent on Saturday, they still fielded a team boasting 165 test caps - including South Africa's World Cup-winning prop Vincent Koch. That was widely considered to be more than good enough for them to begin their campaign with a straightforward victory at the Penzance ground they last visited in 2003.

Saracens, who flew from London to Cornwall by private jet, led 17-15 early in the second half after tries for current and former Scotland internationals Sean Maitland and Tim Swinson and one for Alex Lewington. The Pirates, however, playing their first competitive game in almost a year, were always in the game through tries by Tom Duncan and Dan Frost and the goalkicking of Luke Scully and they deservedly took the prized scalp when Rhodri Davies touched down after a superb counter-attack.

Saracens have plenty of time to get back on course in the shortened 10-round Championship season which culminates with a two-legged playoff to decide who goes up, but they may want the likes of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Jamie George back in club colours more quickly than they might have imagined. Saracens head coach Mark McCall had warned that his team would have a target on their back as every Championship side would rise to the occasion when they faced them, and he was proved emphatically right on Saturday.

The big shame for the home side's fans was that none were allowed in the stadium to witness the famous victory - and the club's website crashed after the game as those supporters sought reaction to a match that was available to watch only on a pay per view live streaming service.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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