Preview: Sale Sharks v Saracens

Saracens will look to build on their best start to the season since 1998/99 when they travel to Sale Sharks in the Guinness Premiership on Friday.

In team news ahead of the game, former Shark Iain Fullarton is given his first start of the season while Fijian international Sakiusa Matadigo also comes into the forward pack.

Those are the only changes to the starting team with Director of Rugby Alan Gaffney naming the same backline that put paid to Leicester last week.

One notable returnee on the replacements bench is hooker Fabio Ongaro who is back in the squad following his spell with Italy at the World Cup.

“We’re pleased with the start that we have made to the season, but we know that travelling to Edgeley Park is a tough prospect,” said Gaffney.

“We lost up there last year, but we gave them a pretty good run for their money even though at one point we had two men in the sin bin.

“They are also starting to get some of their internationals back in the team and Charlie Hodgson is returning to form so we know they are a very strong side.

“But we’re looking forward to it. We’ve started with four wins out of five, but we’re not satisfied. We want to make it five wins out of six to give us a great platform as we move into the cup competitions.

“We had to make one team change this week with Paul Gustard picking up a shoulder injury against Leicester and although Hugh Vyvyan and Richard Hill have been playing very well, we’ve decided to give opportunities to Iain Fullarton and David Seymour this week.”

Form: The last seven matches that Sale Sharks have played in the Guinness Premiership have all gone with home field advantage. The Sharks have won their last three Premiership games at Edgeley Park since Leicester won there in April. Saracens, who have made their best start to a Premiership campaign since 1998/99, are going for a 4th straight away victory – their best run on the road since the first few months of 2005. The two meetings between the two clubs last season were won by the home side on the day, whilst Saracens have won just once at Edgeley Park in five previous visits in all competitions.

Sale Sharks: tbc

Saracens: 15 Richard Haughton, 14 Edd Thrower, 13 Kevin Sorrell, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Rodd Penney, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Neil de Kock (c), 8 Ben Skirving, 7 David Seymour, 6 Sakiusa Matadigo, 5 Kris Chesney, 4 Iain Fullarton, 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Matt Cairns, 1 Kevin Yates.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Tom Mercey, 18 Tom Ryder, 19 Don Barrell, 20 Alan Dickens, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Noah Cato.

Date: Friday, October 19
Venue: Edgeley Park
Kick-off: 19:45 (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small
Touch judges: Bob Mullis, Don Helme
Assessor: Brian Campsall
Television match official: Andrew Turner


365 Digital

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