“We were mulling it over just to make sure it was the right decision for our careers, and really when you look at it, the quality of the players staying, you look at it on paper it’s a very good team so really it was a no-brainer in the end”
Last Updated: 11/08/20 10:37pm
Elliot Daly says Mark McCall and his coaches convinced Saracens’ core group of England stars to stay despite relegation into the Championship.
The defending Gallagher Premiership champions will finish the season last after being deducted 105 points for salary-cap breaches, but nevertheless managed to secure the long-term futures of Daly, Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and Billy and Mako Vunipola among others.
Saracens’ big-name players have received assurances from Eddie Jones playing in the Championship will not affect their international ambitions, while Warren Gatland gave the same message to those hoping to go on next year’s British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.
However, Daly says it was the conversations with McCall and the other coaches that convinced the group to stay at Allianz Park.
“It was an actual process,” Daly told reporters on Tuesday. “[McCall], all the coaches, and everyone above just expressing how much they wanted to keep us all together.
“They expressed that to us. We were mulling it over just to make sure it was the right decision for our careers, and really when you look at it, the quality of the players staying, you look at it on paper it’s a very good team so really it was a no-brainer in the end.
“I think it naturally came about but it came from the top, from them coming to us and saying ‘we want to keep you all together, this is want we want to see for the future’ and explaining what the future looks like.”
Daly joined Saracens from Wasps at the end of last year’s World Cup in Japan, where England finished as losing finalists, a season that has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic on top of Saracens’ relegation saga.
Daly said of his first season in north London: “It’s definitely memorable! It’s not the ideal start to my Saracens career, but coming in now and seeing how ready everyone is to attack the rest of this year and the season after that is amazing really.
“The standard of training has been very, very high. Everyone’s testing each other in training, everyone’s asking questions.
“It’s that type of environment you want to be in and that’s why I came to this club; the amount of players here that can go with the best, and some of the best are here. It’s the place you want to be.”
Daly: Jones has been in ‘constant contact’
Daly says the way England coach Jones has kept in touch with his charges during lockdown shows why he has a “very good relationship” with his players.
“Eddie’s been brilliant in this situation,” Daly said. “He’s very proactive in these types of situations. When we need to speak, we need to speak, when we don’t need to speak he’s not overbearing with it.
“It’s been constant contact throughout the whole of this period. We want to try and build towards the end of the Six Nations.
“He’s got that on the forefront of his mind, but he’s always good to check in with the players and just make sure you’re working on what you need to work on and just trying to get back to where we were before this all happened.
“It’s a very good relationship with his players, he’s good at managing those situations.”
Source : Sky Sports