Nov 14 (Reuters) - Saracens will have a fight on their hands to stay in the Premiership after being docked points for breaching salary cap rules but centre Alex Lozowski has said they will not let that affect the defence of their European title.
Saracens won the English Premiership and European Champions Cup last season but were deducted 35 points and fined 5.36 million pounds ($6.86 million) last week for breaching the salary cap in England.
The club plan to appeal the punishment, which would leave them on -22 points and in danger of relegation if upheld, and coach Mark McCall has said they might have to prioritise Premiership survival over European ambitions this season.
However, Lozowski told British media ahead of their European clash at Racing 92 on Sunday that they would “take the Champions Cup very seriously”.
“Ever since I have been here, we have been universally disliked. That is what happens to you when you have success and win championships ... but what has happened this month has made the target on our back a little bigger.
“I am sure we are all ready to deal with that.”
The 26-year-old said it had been difficult to tune out criticism of the club.
“It’s hard not to see it on social media ... but in terms of how it makes me feel – it doesn’t really bother me,” he added. “Nothing that has happened affects training.
“We are proud of what we achieved last season and we have an opportunity to start our defence against a great team in Paris. We are not going to lie down and give it away to whoever comes next.”
($1 = 0.7815 pounds)
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford