Saracens v Sale Sharks Premiership Preview

Saracens host Sale Sharks at Allianz Park

Current Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Saracens have named their England quartet, Jamie George, Alex Goode, George Kruis and Mako Vunipola in their team to play Sale Sharks.

Along with the England internationals Saracens boss Mark McCall has named USA tighthead Titi Lamositele in the 23-man squad.

Fresh from facing Urugauy in Manchester, hooker Jamie George will start alongside Rhys Gill (loosehead) and Petrus Du Plessis (tighthead) in the Saracens front row,

At lock, Maro Itoje will captain the side with Alistair Hargreaves just missing out as he recovers from an Achilles injury. Itoje will be partnered by Jim Hamilton in the second row.

Michael Rhodes will make his Premiership debut from blindside flanker. The summer signing from South African Super 15 side Stormers will be joined by Kelly Brown (openside flanker) and Jackson Wray in the back row.

At halfback, experienced scrum-half Neil de Kock starts alongside Charlie Hodgson who will be entering his 16th successive Premiership season.

In the midfield, Scottish centre Duncan Taylor will start at inside centre and he is joined by Tim Streather.

Alex Goode is Saracens second England returnee to start the game, and the 27-year old full-back is joined by Chris Ashton and Mike Ellery in the Saracens back three.

On the bench, England pair Mako Vunipola and George Kruis are named as replacements, with USA Eagles tighthead Titi Lamositele also named following Argentine Juan Figallo being called-up to Los Pumas quarter-final squad to face Ireland on Sunday.

Back rower Will Fraser is also named as a substitute whilst England U20s centre Nick Tompkins also makes the matchday 23.

Speaking ahead of the game, director of rugby Mark McCall said: “Our England players have been superb throughout training this week. ”

“They’ve brought some real enthusiasm and energy to the group and it will be great to have them back out there this weekend. Having played Sale on four occasions last season we know how tough a side they are to face, and we are fully aware of the challenge ahead.”

Champions Saracens have been victorious in Aviva Premiership Rugby round 1 for the past three seasons and have also won their last three Premiership Rugby matches – although none of these were played at Allianz Park.

Saracens were defeated 20-24 by Exeter in their most recent match at the venue and have never lost successive games at Allianz Park.

Sale Sharks have won just once on the opening weekend since 2010: 22-16 at Gloucester in 2013.

The Sharks’ only victory in their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby matches was 34-28 over Newcastle at AJ Bell Stadium in round 21, whilst their only win on the road in the tournament so far in 2015 came at relegated London Welsh in February.

The two clubs met on four occasions last season with Sale’s only triumph being 14-10 in Salford in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 21st February.

The Sharks have won just once on Saracens soil in Premiership Rugby history: 40-32 at Vicarage Road in September 2005.

Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has named Danny Cipriani at flyhalf while Brian Mujati and Bryn Evans will be making their full debuts for the Sharks since moving to the club in the summer, with Neil Briggs and Peter Stringer on the bench.

Match : Saracens v Sale Sharks
Date : Saturday 17th October
Venue : Allianz Park,
Kick Off : 2pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Dean Richards (81st Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson and Nigel Carrick.
TMO: David Sainsbury.

Teams

Saracens

15 Alex Goode , 14 Chris Ashton , 13 Tim Streather , 12 Duncan Taylor , 11 Mike Ellery , 10 Charlie Hodgson , 9 Neil de Kock , 8 Jackson Wray , 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Michael Rhodes , 5 Jim Hamilton , 4 Maro Itoje (c) , 3 Petrus Du Plessis , 2 Jamie George ,1 Rhys Gill

Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki , 17 Mako Vunipola , 18 Titi Lamositele , 19 George Kruis , 20 Will Fraser , 21 Ben Spencer , 22 Nick Tompkins , 23 Ben Ransom

Sale Sharks

15. Mike Haley, 14. Tom Arscott, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Tuitupou, 11. Will Addison, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Chris Cusiter, 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Brian Mujati, 4. Josh Beaumont, 5. Bryn Evans, 6. Dan Braid (captain), 7. David Seymour, 8. Mark Easter

Replacements: 16. Neil Briggs, 17. James Flynn, 18. Vadim Cobilas, 19. Jonathan Mills, 20. Magnus Lund, 21. Peter Stringer, 22. Nick Macleod, 23. Mark Jennings

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