Preview: Saracens v Oyonnax

Date published: December 18 2015

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Saracens face Oyonnax for the second time in as many weeks and director of rugby Mark McCall has rotated his squad for the Pool 1 clash, making eight changes to starting XV from last weekend's six-try win over in France.

Up front, in come Schalk Brits (hooker) and Petrus Du Plessis (tighthead prop) to join Mako Vunipola (loosehead prop) in the front row, with Jamie George and Juan Figallo reverting to the bench.

At lock, Jim Hamilton and Maro Itoje continue, with Alistair Hargreaves and George Kruis missing out with both carrying slight knocks.

In the back row, in come Jackson Wray (blindside flanker) and Kelly Brown (openside flanker), whilst Samuela Vunisa comes in for Billy Vunipola at number eight, with the England international just missing out with a knee injury.

In the halves, scrum-half Neil De Kock rotates with Richard Wigglesworth to start alongside the in-form Owen Farrell.

At centre, Brad Barritt continues to skipper the side and he will be partnered by Duncan Taylor who returns to the side in the place of Marcelo Bosch who is rested.

In the back three, fresh from making his European debut in last weekend's 45-10 win away to Oyonnax, Mike Ellery comes into the side for the tournament's leading try scorer, Chris Wyles, on the left wing. Ellery will link-up with Chris Ashton and Alex Goode.

Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall: "This week we've had a chance to fine-tune some aspects of our game.

"We have reviewed some of the things we have done well over in Oyonnax and we've looked to work on improving some aspects of our play that maybe weren't up to standard. We're looking forward to another big challenge this Saturday."

Meanwhile, Oyonnax have made nine changes to the side that suffered a heavy defeat last weekend.

Florian Denos, Daniel Ikpefan and Fetu'u Vainikolo make up a new back three, as Uwa Tawalo comes in at inside centre.

It's all change at half-back as Julien Blanc (scrum-half) and Régis Lespinas (fly-half) take over.

Pedrie Wannenburg moves to openside flanker to allow for the return of Florian Faure at number eight, while the second row remains unchanged.

There are however two new props in the shape of Laurent Delboulbès and Marc Clerc.

Form: The Premiership champions racked up their third-straight win as they defeated tournament newcomers Oyonnax 45-10 at Stade Charles Mathon last weekend. Saracens haven't won four consecutive pool matches in a single Champions Cup campaign since 2011/12. Saracens have won 10 of their last 11 matches at home in the Champions Cup, averaging 35 points per game in this run. This will be Oyonnax's first Champions Cup match outside of France after playing their first away match at Stade Ernest Wallon against Toulouse. Oyonnax have never won a European fixture in England, losing all three Challenge Cup ties they have played there by an aggregate score of 30-106.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Mike Ellery, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil De Kock, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 
16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Ben Ransom

Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Daniel Ikpefan, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Uwa Tawalo, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Regis Lespinas, 9 Julien Blanc, 8 Florian Faure, 7 Pedrie Wannenburg, 6 Valentin Ursache, 5 Geoffrey Fabbri, 4 Leon Power, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Jeremie Maurouard, 1 Laurent Delboulbès
Replacements: 16 Jody Jenneker, 17 Stan Wright, 18 Horace Pungea, 19 Viliami Maafu, 20 Thomas Bordes, 21 Arthur Aziza, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Vincent Martin

Date: Saturday, December 19
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Jonathan Peak (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

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