Heineken Champions Cup: Premiership cap prevents English teams – Alex Sanderson

Sale players after the defeat by Racing 92
Sale Sharks were defeated by Racing 92, 41-22, in the Champions Cup quarterfinals on Sunday

Alex Sanderson, Sale Sharks director rugby, said that the Premiership salary cap cut is making it difficult for English teams compete with French sides in Europe.

The Premiership salary cap was cut by £1.4m to £5m at the start of 2021-22, compared to £8.5m in the Top 14.

Sanderson said, “You don't need the money to sign that quality.”

France will host three of the four semi-final teams.

England's top flight has also agreed to changes to the marquee players dispensation. This will continue as two players' salaries, not counting towards the cap, for the next two seasons, before being reduced to one in the 2022-23 season.

To keep the trophy in English's hands for the fourth consecutive season, Exeter won the title in 2020. Since then, the odds of a Premiership side winning the title have been slimmer with only four teams making it to the final four in each season.

Sanderson responded to a question regarding whether the salary cap hinders English teams from competing with French counterparts.

“There has always been a difference between the salaries of the English and French clubs. Toulon used to have a £20m salary cap and the English clubs were on £5-6m – and yet they managed to win.

“You can fill the gap in the salary cap by really good coaching, decent infrastructure and culture.” Talent, cohesion, and decent coaching can help bridge this gap.

Sale put on a great first half in Paris. They led 10-6 at intermission, before Racing turned the tables with four tries.

Sanderson said, “It's really frustrating.” “I can't argue with the outcome. You won't reach the quarter-finals if you send 40 points.

“It wasn’t because I didn’t put in the effort. Although our set-piece and our physicality were excellent, some of our decisions gave them some speed ball.

“We gave in to their will in the second half and the game was over.”

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