A weakened Saracens side began their European Champions Cup title defence with a crushing 30-10 defeat to French side Racing 92 on Sunday.

Saracens were without England internationals Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Billy and Mako Vunipola, who were part of the World Cup campaign in which Eddie Jones’ side finished runners-up behind South Africa in Japan earlier this month.

The English champions had said they may have to prioritise Premiership survival over European ambitions after being docked 35 points and fined £5.36 million by the Premiership for breaching salary cap rules.

The club could also face action from European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) after their representatives pulled out of the season’s launch of the Champions Cup in Cardiff last week.

Tries from Virimi Vakatawa, Teddy Thomas, Finn Russell and Wenceslas Lauret ensured Top 14 side Racing 92 secured a bonus-point win in the Pool 4 clash at La Defense Arena.

Saracens centre Alex Lozowski, who had said earlier this week that the club could handle the fallout of their salary cap breach, scored his team’s only try.

Saracens host Ospreys in their next fixture on Nov. 23.

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