Preview: Saracens v Glasgow

Saracens coach Alan Gaffney has named his strongest side possible for Sunday’s visit of Glasgow Warriors to Vicarage Road as both sides launch their Heineken Cup challenge.

The Men in Black return to battle it out with the European elite after a year out and this season they are looking to go one step further and qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition for the first time in the club’s history.

Glasgow have boosted their squad since the sides met last season in three closely fought battles, with Daryl Gibson, the former All Black signing from Leicester Tigers amongst many others.

Sean Lineen’s side will have designs on an opening round away win and Saracens are going to have to make home advantage tell if they are to realise their dream.

Flanker Richard Hill, prop Kevin Yates and second row Kris Chesney all return to the starting line-up while Francisco Leonelli comes in at full-back for his first game since suffering a calf injury before the league win at Leeds at the end of September.

Italy hooker Fabio Ongaro is named on the bench alongside Gordon Ross and Moses Rauluni which means skipper Neil de Kock and Glen Jackson resume their productive half-back partnership.

“We faced some tough selection choices this week and there are a number of guys who have not made the squad,” said Gaffney.

“We gave an opportunity to some of them in the past two matches and everyone performed well and put their hands up for selection.

“But what we’ve done for this weekend is pick the team we think can get the result we want.”

“It’s exciting to be back in the Heineken Cup – both I and the players are looking forward to it. It’s been a number of years since I’ve been involved in the competition and it continues to get bigger and better.

“It’s a great tournament and I know the players are looking forward to laying down a marker against the best teams in Europe.”

Saracens: 15 Francisco Leonelli, 14 Rodd Penney, 13 Kevin Sorrell, 12 Andy Farrell, 11 Kameli Ratuvou, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Neil de Kock (c), 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Richard Hill, 6 Paul Gustard, 5 Kris Chesney, 4 Hugh Vyvyan, 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Matt Cairns, 1 Kevin Yates
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Tom Mercey, 18 Tom Ryder, 19 David Seymour, 20 Moses Rauluni, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Edd Thrower

Glasgow: tbc

Date: Sunday, November 11
Venue: Vicarage Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assessor: Tony Lynch (Wales)


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