Preview: Saracens v Leicester

Date published: February 17 2012

Saracens welcome back Schalk Brits and Neil de Kock to their starting line-up that will take on Leicester Tigers at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Saracens welcome back Schalk Brits and Neil de Kock to their XV that will take on Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Matt Stevens is named on the bench after being released by England and scrum-half Ben Spencer also returns from duty with England U20s.

“We've enjoyed another excellent week of preparation and are really looking forward to the game against Leicester,” explained McCall.

“Leicester come to us on the back of a defeat to Exeter Chiefs but before that match, they had shown the type of form that has made them one of the most consistent sides in the Premiership. They have a squad full of internationals with a lot of experience, so we know that all aspects of our game must be at the very highest levels on Sunday.”

Meanwhile, Samoa international prop Logoviii Mulipola is given his first Aviva Premiership start for Leicester in this weekend's trip to Watford.

The 24-year-old tighthead has his opportunity in the absence of Dan Cole, Martin Castrogiovanni and Julian White, and joins internationals Marcos Ayerza and George Chuter in the Tigers front-row.

James Grindal and Matt Smith come into the backline in changes following defeat at Exeter Chiefs last Saturday.

Sam Harrison (ankle) and Alesana Tuilagi (knee) are ruled out after picking up injuries at Exeter.

Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood and Thomas Waldrom return from the England training camp to take starting roles for Tigers.

Craig Newby, who captained Tigers in the Aviva Premiership Final against Saracens in May, is named among the replacements as he continues his return from injury, and Scotland Under-20s scrum-half Scott Steele joins England Under-20s fly-half George Ford in the matchday squad.

Form: Saracens are unbeaten in their last eleven matches in all competitions, since their 8-30 defeat at Northampton in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 26 November. Sarries have not lost at Vicarage Road in the Premiership since Exeter were the visitors on 30 October 2010. Leicester Tigers suffered a first Premiership defeat since 8 October with their 11-19 reversal at Exeter on Saturday evening. Tigers have not lost back to back away trips in the tournament since October 2010. Saracens have won their last four games against Leicester – their best ever sequence against the Tigers.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Duncan Taylor, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Adam Powell, 11 James Short, 10 Nils Mordt, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Justin Melck, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 George Kruis, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 John Smit (capt).
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Hugh Vyvyan, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Joel Tomkins, 23 Michael Tagicakibau.

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Matt Smith, 10 Toby Flood, 9 James Grindal, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 George Skivington, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Logoviii Mulipola, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Ryan Bower, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Craig Newby, 21 Scott Steele, 22 George Ford, 23 Scott Hamilton.

Date: Sunday, February 19
Kick-off: 14:30
Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: Andrew Small