After a trying week for Saracens, Alex Lozowski believes that the Men in Black will come out fighting in their Champions Cup opener against Racing 92.

The reigning European champions, Saracens were hit with a provisional fine and points deduction in Premiership Rugby as punishment for alleged salary cap breaches – a charge that they have appealed against.

But centre Lozowski, who has been with the club since 2016, insists that the side will continue to do its talking on the pitch.

"As a player you want to be competing at the top end of competitions,” said the 26-year-old.

“We are the [European] champions. We’re not going to lie down and just give it away to whoever comes next. We are a proud bunch of lads, proud of what we achieved last season.

“We are professional rugby players, who come to training every day and there has been no talk about penalties or points deductions at this stage.

“We have an amazing challenge at the weekend against a phenomenal team and the second we start worrying about other things, it could be a long afternoon on Sunday.

“We know what we’ve got to do in terms of our preparation to get ready for a big game.”

Saracens have won Europe’s elite club rugby crown in three of the past four seasons and sealed last season’s title in emphatic style when they beat Leinster 20-10 in Newcastle.

And Mark McCall has opted for youth as the side begin their title defence in France, with three Champions Cup debutants set for a start in a side captained by Jackson Wray on his 50th appearance in the competition. 

And Lozowski admits that, with recent developments stoking anti-Saracens sentiment in the rugby world, the team are used to battling against the adversity that they once again face. 

“Ever since I have been here, we have been pretty much universally disliked, so it's not really new to us and that is what happens to you when you have success and win championships,” he continued.

“I guess what has happened, has made that a bit worse, but we are used to being disliked.

“It's hard not to see it on social media and obviously a lot of people have had a lot to say about it – other teams, coaches and players.

“It is quite amusing to read what they have to say and what they think about it, but in terms of how it makes me feel – it doesn't really bother me all that much.”