England are quickly discovering their Six Nations campaign cannot sit in isolation to the Saracens salary cap scandal.

Try as they might, the saga engulfing seven of England's squad is impossible to dodge.

Many lingering, murky questions about the state of the club's books remain unanswered while the players' futures are also yet to be revealed.

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Until the independent report into how Saracens breached the £7m salary cap in each of the last four seasons is published in full in the coming days, one of rugby's greatest downfalls will continue to rumble on and prove a major sideshow for England.


Even then, the matter is unlikely to be swiftly resolved.

England captain Owen Farrell took the unusual step of opening his side's press conference at the Six Nations launch in London today with a statement which hoped to deflect all questions about his club side breaching the cap.

"Just before we get started obviously I want to address the Saracens situation before we get into the interviews," Farrell said. "Obviously it's a disappointing place to be in but I back the club to come back from the position it's in at the minute.

"I'm not really in a position to comment any more and I'm here to talk about England and the Six Nations so we can get on with that."

Farrell is one of several high-profile Saracens players – Mako and injured No 8 Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje others – to receive payments from Saracens chairman Nigel Wray, who has since resigned, via private companies in a system that was found to have consistently breached the cap.

In a room full of journalists, Farrell's initial statement did little to quell interest in the controversy which taints Saracens, a club that won three of the past four European titles and five domestic championships in the last decade.

Parking the subject clearly promises to be an on-going challenge for England during this Six Nations.

Only yesterday England coach Eddie Jones, at the naming of his squad, revealed he would hold clear the air talks this week in which grievances could be expressed.


"Eddie said the other day that we'll bring it up and if we need to speak about it as a group we will," Farrell said. "For us as individuals and me personally I'm unbelievably excited to get into England camp and get going with the Six Nations and improving us as a team."

Does Farrell expect to find the Saracens mess has created divisions within the England squad?

"I don't know. When we get together it will be clear because we're very good at being honest and open about stuff and sorting stuff out if we need to. We'll see if we need to."

Farrell appeared to hint that many, if not all, of England's test stars planned to stay on at Saracens and, therefore, compete in the second-tier Championship next season after the relegation punishment is imposed.

Many players will be forced to leave the club, however.

Discussions between Saracens, Jones and Lions coach Warren Gatland about the potential selection implications of players competing in the Championship next season are thought to be on-going.

Asked directly when clarity on players' futures would be clear, Farrell said: "There's ideas but there's nothing set in stone it's still pretty soon. Everybody coming away has an idea but we're not going to comment on it because nothing is sorted yet.

"We've got an idea and we're happy to then come into camp and park it and get on with what is a massive tournament for us."

Jones trusts Farrell to lead England on the field but, at this point, he felt the need to step in and attempt to shut down continued probes.

"Is anyone interested in talking about rugby? You've had a go so let's talk about the tournament. If you want to talk about Saracens I'll go get the Saracens top. Let's talk about England please."

With this saga far from over, such agitation is merely a sign of what's to come.

Club and country bring different strips but until this controversy settles their inseparable nature threatens to overshadow England's aspirations.