Alex Lewington says he can’t wait for the Premiership season to resume as Saracens look to build a head of steam before they attempt to retain the European Champions Cup. 

Saracens’ automatic relegation to the English Championship was confirmed earlier this year for breaching Premiership Rugby’s salary cap, but they can still win club rugby’s biggest prize. 

They face Irish giants Leinster in the Champions Cup quarter-finals later this year and can warm-up for that with a string of Premiership matches, starting against Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate. 

Since lockdown came into effect in March, Saracens have been busy preparing for Championship life – trimming their squad by allowing several players to leave both permanently and on loan. 

George Kruis, Nick Tompkins and Ben Spencer have all moved on but winger Lewington is chomping at the bit. 

“The lockdown novelty wore off after a period so it was great to get back in with the boys when it was safe to do so,” he said. 

“Training has been hard but the lads have put in a huge amount of effort to prepare us for the weekend. We’re all excited to get going again. 

“Bristol have ambitions to end the season as champions and while we aren’t in a position to compete in the Premiership, we’ve got aspirations of our own to build towards. 

“It will be an exciting game for sure and it’s what all our effort over the past two months has been put in for.” 

Saracens boss Mark McCall still has several world-class players at his disposal, with the likes of Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Mike Rhodes and Billy Vunipola all named in the pack. 

Richard Wigglesworth and Alex Goode play at half-back, with Juan Pablo Socino makes his debut at centre alongside Dom Morris. 

Lewington is joined in the back three by Rotimi Segun and full-back Sean Maitland.