Saints v Saracens LV= Cup Semi-final preview

Northampton Saints and Saracens have named their teams to play in the Anglo Welsh LV=Cup Semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday .

For Saracens LV=Cup breakthrough of the year nominee Ben Ransom starts at full-back with Jack Wilson starting on the left wing; Wilson is looking to add to the two tries he has scored in the LV=Cup so far this season.

He is joined in the Saracens back-line by outside centre Tim Streather who has been impressive form this season.

At half-back, 23-year-old Ben Spencer starts his fifth game of the season at scrum-half. Currently the competitions leading point’s scorer, Spencer is partnered by Nils Mordt who captains the side from fly-half.

In the pack, in his debut season in the English top flight, loosehead prop Richard Barrington wears the number one shirt and is joined in the front row by 23-year-old hooker Jamie George. The durable Petrus du Plessis completes the front row at tighthead prop.

Elsewhere in the pack former Ireland U20s lock forward Eoin Sherrif starts in the second row.

In the back row England U20s Junior World Championship winner Matt Hankin starts at openside flanker. The 20-year-old back-rower has made a notable contribution thus far in the competition as he leads the tackles made standings whilst maintaining a 92% tackle completion rate.

He is joined by Saracens academy graduate and the LV=Cup’s leading try scorer Jackson Wray, who starts at No.8.

“The LV=Cup is an important competition for Saracens,” said Mark McCall, Director of Rugby, “and it is absolutely correct that the players who have earned this place in the semi-finals will now have the opportunity to go on and win a place in the final. If a player is good enough to be contracted to Saracens, he is 100% good enough to play in a semi-final. That’s the way we choose to run the club.”

Meanwhile Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder has rotated some of his players for the match and there are returns to the starting line-up for wing Tom Collins and second row James Craig, with full back Ben Foden, fly half Will Hooley, prop Tom Mercey and flanker Ben Nutley all stepping up from the bench.

Match : Northampton Saints vs Saracens LV= Cup Semi-Final
Date : Saturday, March 8th, 2014
Venue : Franklin’s Gardens
Kick Off : 12:30pm
Live on: TBA
Match Officials
Referee:
Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Rhys Thomas (Wales), Kelvin Shorte (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

Teams

Northampton Saints

15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Phil Dowson (capt), 6 Ben Nutley, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Ethan Waller.

Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Alex Day, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Fa’atoina Autagavaia,

Saracens

15. Ben Ransom; 14. Michael Tagicakibau, 13. Tim Streather, 12. Marcelo Bosch, 11. Jack Wilson; 10. Nils Mordt ©, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jamie George, 3. Petrus du Plessis, 4. Eoin Sherrif, 5. Mouritz Botha, 6. Justin Melck, 7. Matt Hankin, 8. Jackson Wray.

Replacements: 16. Jared Saunders, 17. Rhys Gill, 18. James Johnston, 19. Hayden Smith, 20. Nick De Jager, 21. Neil de Kock, 22. Charlie Hodgson, 23. Chris Wyles

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