Preview: Saracens v Leicester Tigers

Date published: October 28 2016

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Saracens have named a strong team for their Premiership clash with Leicester Tigers on Saturday.

In the back three, Alex Goode continues at full-back and starts alongside Chris Wyles (left wing) and Sean Maitland (right wing). At centre, Brad Barritt skippers the side and is joined by Nick Tompkins at outside centre.

Ben Spencer rotates with Richard Wigglesworth at scrum-half to join Owen Farrell (fly-half) in the halves.

Mako Vunipola continues at loosehead and is joined by Jamie George (hooker) and Juan Figallo (tighthead). At lock, with Maro Itoje and George ruled out with injury Michael Rhodes moves up to lock to partner Jim Hamilton. Mark Flanagan could make his Saracens debut from the bench.

In the back-row, the in-form Jackson Wray is named at blindside flanker with Schalk Burger continuing at openside flanker – Billy Vunipola wears the number eight jersey.

Speaking ahead of the game, director of rugby Mark McCall said: "Under Richard Cockerill Leicester have consistently challenged for the top spots in the Premiership and last weekend against Racing 92 in the Champions Cup they produced a performance that underlines how competitive a side they are this season.

"For ourselves, last weekend saw us record a win over a talented Scarlets outfit but there were aspects of our game that we can improve upon. The whole group has responded in this week’s training extremely well and we’re all looking forward to what should be a great game in front of a packed house at Allianz Park."

Meanwhile, Peter Betham and Jack Roberts will form a new centre partnership for Leicester Tigers.

Australia international Betham has played a part in every game so far this season, while Roberts makes his first start against the defending Premiership champions.

Mathew Tait reverts to full-back after injury to Telusa Veainu, with Roberts coming in for the unfortunate Matt Toomua who has had surgery on the knee injury picked up in his home debut last weekend.

In the forward pack, Graham Kitchener comes in to replace Dom Barrow who took a head knock in the win over Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup last weekend.

Ellis Genge and Luke Hamilton return to the matchday 23 and there is also a place among the replacements for George Catchpole.

Form: Saracens have lost just one of their last 18 fixtures in all tournaments: 10-17 at Harlequins in the Premiership on 24th September. Saracens have not been defeated at Allianz Park since Northampton were the visitors on March 5. Leicester Tigers last five matches have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst in their last six away games in all competitions the Tigers have conceded 24 tries and scored 16. Saracens have lost only one of their last five encounters with the Tigers: 13-21 at Welford Road on March 20. The Tigers have not been successful on Saracens soil since a trip to Vicarage Road in February 2012.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola 
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Marcelo Bosch 

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Jack Roberts, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Logovi'i Mulipola, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Will Evans, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 George Catchpole

Date: Saturday, October 29 
Venue: Allianz Park
Time: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT) 
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys & Matthew Carley
TMO: Rowan Kitt

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