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Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 12:13 UK

Saracens 'will honour contracts'

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray
Saracens chairman Nigel Wray says his club need to change

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray says his club will "honour all contracts" of the estimated 15 players set to leave Vicarage Road at the end of the season.

Wray told BBC Sport that reports suggesting Sarries could not afford pay-offs were "complete rubbish".

Wray said: "We will honour all contracts and I would be most surprised if [club stalwart] Kevin Sorrell, for example, isn't here for many a year.

"The players asked to know their future, and we gave them the truth."

Saracens are co-owned by a South African consortium with links to provincial sides the Blue Bulls and the Stormers, and there are fears the Guinness Premiership side will become little more than a South African feeder club.

I'm not in the slightest bit worried because we've got nothing to lose. We are not sustainable as we are at the moment

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray

South African Brendan Venter will replace Australian Eddie Jones as head coach next season and there have been rumours suggesting Saracens will eventually move from Watford to Central London to attract South African fans.

Wray denied Saracens would effectively become a South African club in exile, although he cited Arsenal as a football club that has continued to thrive despite a paucity of English players in the first team.

He said: "How many Arsenal fans are worried that there's one Englishman in their side? The answer is they sell out every week. It's about winning, the fans don't care.

"I hope very much we'll have a few more South African players because they're very talented.


"But we're also heavily committed to putting more money into our academy, so we have more youngsters coming through. It's a two-pronged attack.

"What I want back is winning, success, creating something that endures, and it has to stand on its own feet financially to endure.

"We need to widen our market. If we can engage the South African community on top of our own community then we're beginning to make things tick, because at the moment rugby isn't ticking.

"We lose between £2-3m per annum and half the Premiership are roughly doing what we're doing. It's a serious financial situation.

"I'm not in the slightest bit worried because we've got nothing to lose. We are not sustainable as we are at the moment."

Wray, who has seen 11 head coaches come and go in as many years, added he was confident Venter was the man to take Saracens forward.

"I'm the guy at the top and I must take the blame [for the turnover of coaches]," Wray added.

"In coaching terms I can't get it right, but that doesn't mean to say I'm going to stop trying and I think Brendan Venter is outstanding."

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see also
Saracens 19-14 Wasps
29 Mar 09 |  English
Coach Jones leaves Saracens early
13 Mar 09 |  Saracens
Jones criticises Sarries turmoil
01 Mar 09 |  Saracens
Saracens players shocked at exits
26 Feb 09 |  Saracens
Dallaglio dismayed by Saracens
26 Feb 09 |  English
Saracens plan massive clear-out
25 Feb 09 |  Saracens
Saracens to stay at Vicarage Road
19 Feb 09 |  Saracens
Venter to quit Exiles
05 Feb 03 |  English
Venter finds the cure
23 Apr 02 |  English

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