Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall says that the Champions Cup semi-final defeat by Racing 92 marks the “end of an era” for his team.
McCall’s men will play in the second-tier Championship next season after a 105-point deduction for salary-cap breaches condemned them to relegation.
Saracens have won three of the last four Champions Cup finals and four of the past five Premiership titles.
“This has been an incredible period for us,” said McCall.
“This was our 23rd knockout game in either Europe or the Premiership and we’ve won 19 of those games, which is an incredible record.
“We put our heart and soul into that game and we can be proud of the players. They are a special group.”
Their hopes of adding to the trophy collection this season were ended after Racing 92 scored a 75th-minute try in Paris to snatch a 19-15 victory.
“In many ways it is the end of an era,” McCall added.
“But we showed all the qualities and characteristics we need on a new journey.”
A number of high-profile players have left Saracens in the wake of their punishment being announced with Liam Williams, George Kruis, Ben Spencer and Will Skelton departing on permanent deals. Captain Brad Barritt and scrum-half Richard Wiggleworth, 34 and 37 respectively, will also leave at the end of the season.
While high-profile England internationals like Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Jamie George and Elliot Daly have committed their futures to the club, some may follow the likes of Ben Earl, Max Malins, Alex Lozowski and Nick Isiekwe in agreeing loan deals elsewhere.
Hooker George admitted he was unsure what the future had in store for Saracens with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meaning no date has been set for the start of the Championship season.
“The element of the unknown is pretty horrendous,” he said.
“A lot of people have talked rubbish about us for a long time. But if you look at the squad here probably our best player was [23-year-old academy graduate] Dom Morris.
“If you’re telling me we’re breaking the salary cap that’s an interesting one.
“I don’t know what we’re going to be facing, but the young players coming through are hugely motivated and that is the exciting thing for me.”