Saracens owner Nigel Wray sided with Clermont as he hit out at Champions Cup organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) over the handling of the pair’s rearranged fixture.
Clermont made good on their promise to use the fallout as motivation as they ran out comfortable 46-14 winners at Allianz Park Monday night.
That result came hours after the Top 14 club had accused their hosts, EPCR and Barnet Council of “incompetence” over the decision to postpone the Pool 2 clash due to safety fears over the areas surrounding the stadium.
Monday’s game was watched by a crowd of just 2,661 meaning Saracens lost up to £300,000 and Wray blamed the governing body for the confusion that ensued following the initial decision to postpone the game Sunday morning.
“I understand what Clermont are saying, it’s annoying from everybody’s point of view. It’s important to stress the health and safety officer made his decision, it’s nothing to do with us,” Wray said.
“We’re quite big losers because we’ve lost a sell-out crowd and will make a substantial loss. But I am a big supporter of our fans and it’s not the way this should have been done.
“By now you know my views on organisations like EPCR and the Rugby Football Union, they’re all chaotic. I don’t think they work and this is another example of why. It’s bad for the image of the Champions Cup.
“I thought the closed doors statement from EPCR was outrageous. It was a unilateral statement, we had been promised there would be consultation.”
Saracens boss Mark McCall admitted he was shocked by the manner of his side’s defeat but refused to blame it on the postponement.
He backed his players to turn the situation around as they come to terms with their heaviest ever European loss. “What we said in the changing room is that by the end of January we hope we can be proud of how we we respond to this difficult situation we find ourselves in,” McCall said.
“We’ve got enough good players at the club and people who care about the club enough to respond in the right way over a six-week period.”