Alex Sanderson quoted popstar Taylor Swift to encapsulate Saracens’ mentality this week, with the Premiership champions putting their off-field issues to one side to triumph at Gloucester.
Sarries returned to action on Saturday for the first time since they were docked 35 Premiership points and fined £5.36million for breaching salary cap regulations in each of the past three seasons.
The punishments are subject to review, with the club announcing their intention to appeal, and the team responded on the field in impressive fashion.
Sarries defeated Gloucester 21-12 at Kingsholm, where a number of rival fans were reported to have travelled to revel in the downfall of the country’s leading team.
But coach Sanderson – part of director of rugby Mark McCall’s backroom staff – provoked a reaction at full-time as he indicated towards the scoreboard as the home crowd jeered victorious Sarries.
He offered a light-hearted explanation to BT Sport in the aftermath, surprisingly using Swift’s hit track Shake It Off.
“To quote the immortal words of Taylor Swift – haters gonna hate, hate, hate, players gonna play,” he told BT Sport.
WHAT A WIN!!!!
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) November 9, 2019
“I don’t mean to belittle the scenario – I don’t want to at all – but that’s just our mentality. We’ve got to accept the hate we’re going to receive. We’re going to crack on and just play.”
Sanderson does not believe Sarries should have been on the end of such anger from the rest of the Premiership, yet he added the travelling team had been motivated as a result.
“Yeah, we’ve used it, we’ve used the anger this week to fuel us,” he said. “You can’t use that for a full season because of the negative energy.
“We’ve got to go on, crack on, look strategically at what we’re going to do this season and how we’re going about it. This week, I can’t be more impressed with the boys’ application in the week and on the field.”