News24.com | Saracens suffer shock defeat in second division debut

Saracens were stunned on their debut in the second tier of English rugby on Saturday with a 25-17 defeat to Cornish Pirates.

Four-times English champions and three-times European Cup winners in the last five years, Sarries were relegated last season as a punishment for multiple salary cap breaches.

Although the majority of their international players including England internationals Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Jamie George were absent, Saracens were still expected to get off to a winning start and cruise back to the top-flight.

The Pirates were playing their first competitive game for nearly a year, but took a huge scalp thanks to tries from Tom Duncan, Dan Frost and Rhodri Davies.

Despite a shortened season, there is still time for Saracens to recover with a two-legged playoff at the end of a 10-game season to decide who goes up to the Premiership.

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