Preview: Harlequins v Saracens

Date published: January 8 2016

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Harlequins have made four changes to their starting team that will face Saracens in the Premiership at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Rob Buchanan and Adam Jones are named in the front-row as Jack Clifford starts at number eight, 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.

Meanwhile, Billy Vunipola will bring up a half century of appearances for Saracens with the England back-rower named at eight 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.

Form: Saracens' perfect start to the new season continued with their victory over Leicester Tigers last week – an eighth successive Premiership Rugby win since the start of the campaign, equalling their previous best start set in 2009/10. Indeed, Harlequins have won just one of their last 14 matches with Saracens in all tournaments, and with Sarries yet to concede a try away from home they look set to extend their winning run at the Stoop to six games.

The 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.

Date: Saturday, January 9
Venue: The Stoop
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden, Simon McConnell
TMO: Keith Lewis

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