Harlequins v Saracens Premiership Preview

Harlequins host Saracens at the Twickenham Stoop

Saracens have named Billy Vunipola to win his 50th cap for the club in their match on Saturday against Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership at a sold out Stoop.

Billy Vunipola will bring up a half century of appearances for Saracens with the England back rower named at No8 alongside Jackson Wray (blindside flanker) and Will Fraser (openside flanker) in the back row.

Elsewhere in the pack, Mako Vunipola and Petrus Du Plessis continue at loosehead prop and tighthead prop respectively, with Jamie George skippering the side from hooker.

On the bench, Jared Saunders, Rhys Gill and Titi Lamositele are the front row replacements – Juan Figallo just misses out with a slight knock. At lock, Jim Hamilton comes onto the side to rotate with Maro Itoje, with the former Scotland man joining George Kruis at second row.

At half-back, Mark McCall rotates his playmakers with Neil De Kock (scrum-half) and Owen Farrell (fly-half) both returning to the side, with Richard Wigglesworth and Charlie Hodgson reverting to the bench.

At centre, Brad Barritt misses the game with a slight knock and has not been risked, he will be replaced by the in-form Duncan Taylor at inside centre. Taylor is partnered by Marcelo Bosch in the Saracens midfield.

In the back three, Chris Ashton continues on the right wing with Mike Ellery coming into the side for Chris Wyles (who is rested) on the left wing. Alex Goode continues at full-back.

Mark McCall, director of rugby: “Harlequins have been a good team for some time and I think they have a really healthy squad at the moment. We just want to keep the momentum going, and keep fronting up to play as well as we can. We’re in a good place but we know this will be a tough game at The Stoop on Saturday.”

Harlequins only defeat in their last ten matches in all tournaments was 25-26 at Exeter in round 5 of Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Quins are unbeaten at home in any tournament this season with their last loss at the Twickenham Stoop being 26-27 to Bath in round 21 last season.

Saracens perfect start to the new season continued with their victory over Leicester on Saturday an eighth successive Aviva Premiership Rugby victory since the start of the campaign equalling their previous best start set in 2009/10.

Harlequins have won just one of their last 14 matches with Saracens in all tournaments: 24-19 at Wembley Stadium in Premiership Rugby in March 2012. Saracens have won on their five most recent visits to Twickenham Stoop.

Harlequins have made four changes to the starting team which beat Worcester Warriors last week.

Rob Buchanan and Adam Jones are named in the front row as Jack Clifford starts at number 8, rotating with Nick Easter.

In the backs Marland Yarde returns to the starting team on the wing.

Among the replacements, Seb Adeniran-Olule will look to make his first Premiership appearance of the season.

The Bookies have given Harlequins a 3 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to £200 in Bonus bets.

Match : Harlequins v Saracens
Date : Saturday 9 January
Venue : Twickenham Stoop,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Craig Maxwell-Keys (9th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Simon McConnell.
TMO: Keith Lewis.

Teams

Harlequins

15. Mike Brown, 14. Marland Yarde, 13. George Lowe, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11. Ross Chisholm, 10. Nick Evans, 9. Danny Care (C), 8. Jack Clifford, 7. Luke Wallace, 6. Chris Robshaw, 5. Charlie Matthews, 4. James Horwill, 3. Adam Jones, 2. Rob Buchanan ,1.Joe Marler

Replacements : 16. Dave Ward, 17. Seb Adeniran-Olule, 18. Will Collier, 19. George Merrick, 20. Nick Easter, 21. Karl Dickson, 22. Tim Swiel, 23. Harry Sloan

Saracens

15 Alex Goode , 14 Chris Ashton , 13 Marcelo Bosch , 12 Duncan Taylor , 11 Mike Ellery , 10 Owen Farrell , 9 Neil de Kock , 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray , 5 George Kruis , 4 Jim Hamilton , 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George (c), 1 Mako Vunipola

Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Rhys Gill , 18 Titi Lamositele , 19 Maro Itoje , 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Richard Wigglesworth , 22 Charlie Hodgson , 23 Nick Tompkins

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