London Irish v Saracens Premiership Preview

London Irish host Gloucester at the Madejski Stadium

Saracens have named their team to play London Irish in the Aviva Premiership at the Madejski Stadium with Chris Ashton making his 50th appearance cap for Saracens.

England winger Ashton will play his 50th game for the club after being named alongside Alex Goode and Chris Wyles in the Saracens back three.

Tim Streather comes into the side to partner Brad Barritt at centre, whilst Owen Farrell replaces Charlie Hodgson at fly-half as Mark McCall rotates his squad.

In the pack, Rhys Gill starts at loosehead prop with Richard Barrington named on the bench. Jamie George continues at hooker, with Kieran Longbottom retaining the No.3 shirt.

Scotland international Jim Hamilton starts his first Premiership game for the club at lock, and joins captain Alistair Hargreaves in the second-row.

In the back row, Ernst Joubert makes a welcome return to action at blindside flanker, as does Jacques Burger who comes into the side to wear No.7 jersey – Billy Vunipola continues at No.8.

London Irish opened their winning account in Aviva Premiership Rugby with a narrow 20-18 victory at Newcastle on Sunday, Irish have not won back-to-back games in the tournament since February but have been victorious in their last two encounters at Madesjki Stadium.

Saracens have begun the season with a pair of victories over London-based clubs, Wasps and ‘Quins, and will be going for three in a row this week.

Sarries only regular season defeat in the competition since London Irish beat them at Allianz Park in February came at Leicester in round 22.

The Exiles have beaten Saracens in two of their last three meetings whilst Saracens only victory in Reading since 2007 was in April 2012.

Jebb Sinclair and Luke Narraway will both make their first starts of the season with Sinclair starting in the Sinclair will start in the second row alongside Captain George Skivington and Narraway playing at number 8.

Irish come into the match on a six day turnaround, hence the rotation of the forward pack.

Tom Court, David Paice and Halani Aulika make up the front row with the Canadian International, Jebb Sinclair, playing alongside George Skivington in the second row. Blair Cowan and Ofisa Treviranus will line up alongside Luke Narraway in the back row.

Chris Noakes and Scott Steele form the half back pairing with Shane Geraghty and Fergus Mulchrone in the centre. Andrew Fenby, Alex Lewington and James Short form the back three.

London Irish Director of Rugby, Brian Smith said: “It is great to be playing our first match of the season at Madejski Stadium against Saracens tomorrow. “

“We’ve made a couple of changes to inject some energy and enthusiasm. We have decided to go with a six two split on the bench as we know it will play a crucial role. Saracens are the form team right now so we’ll have to be at our best, and we intend to be.”

Match : London Irish v Saracens
Date : Saturday 20th September
Venue : Madejski Sadium,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N/A
Match Officials
Referee:
Luke Pearce (29th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell and Nigel Carrick.
TMO: David Grashoff

Teams

London Irish

15. Andrew Fenby; 14. Alex Lewington; 13. Fergus Mulchrone; 12. Shane Geraghty*; 11. James Short; 10. Chris Noakes; 9. Scott Steele; 1. Tom Court*; 2. David Paice*; 3. Halani Aulika*; 4. George Skivington (Captain); 5. Jebb Sinclair*; 6. Blair Cowan*; 7. Ofisa Treviranus*; 8. Luke Narraway*

Replacements:16. Gerard Ellis; 17. Matt Parr; 18. Leo H

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