THERE really is nowhere else to start this week than the story which has rocked English rugby - Premiership and European champions Saracens deciding to accept relegation at the end of the season for continual breaches of the salary cap.

It's an extraordinary tale and has been likened to the scandals involving Lance Armstrong and Juventus football club, while many regard it as worse than the infamous 'bloodgate' issue at Harlequins.

There is no doubt one of the great dynasties of the past decade has come to an end, and we will wait and see what happens to all the England and international stars Sarries have stockpiled in recent times.

What is particularly interesting is they would rather drop down to the Championship than open their books to independent auditors, which has thrown up further questions about what exactly has been going on – it feels there maybe more to run in this story.

Bad news for some means good news for others, however, and there is no doubt London Irish will be able to breathe easier for the remainder of the campaign not they don't have the sceptre of relegation hanging over their shoulders.

Exiles' poor run continued with a 33-12 home defeat to Scarlets as their disappointing European Challenge Cup campaign ended with a whimper, but they'll look to end their seven-match losing streak when they visit Northampton Saints in the Gallagher Premiership tomorrow (Friday).

It was a memorable day up at Old Bath Road as Rams took on Richmond in a top-of-the-table National One clash in front of a massive crowd of 1,131.

It's testament to the way Seb Reynolds' side have captured the imagination that they had a crowd like that, and while they were edged out 22-17, they're still in the hunt for the title – and a possible encounter with Saracens next year.

Rams travel to struggling Hull Ionians on Saturday looking for a bonus-point win to keep the pressure on Richmond and Rosslyn Park.

Elsewhere, my boys Reading are up to second in Southern Counties North following a brilliant 53-19 destruction of Stow-on-the-Wold, while Reading Abbey drew 12-12 with Shipston-on-Stour.

We both have a week off to recharge the batteries before getting back to work next month.