Preview: Saracens v Sale Sharks

Date published: September 26 2014

With Owen Farrell ruled out, Charlie Hodgson will start at fly-half for Saracens in Saturday’s Premiership clash with Sale Sharks at Allianz Park.

Farrell has been ruled out of action for the next few weeks after sustaining a leg injury against London Irish. Club captain Alistair Hargreaves will also miss out with an ankle complaint. Back rower Will Fraser is ruled out of the game with a slight hamstring strain.

Jamie George is set to make his 100th appearance for the club, the 23-year-old hooker starts in the front row alongside Rhys Gill, and James Johnston .

At lock, George Kruis returns to the side to partner Mouritz Botha in the second row.

Jacques Burger continues at openside flanker, with Jackson Wray (blindside) and Ernst Joubert (number eight) joining the Namibian international in the back-row.

Neil de Kock partners former Sharks pivot Hodgson at half-back, with Brad Barritt captaining the side alongside Duncan Taylor in the Saracens midfield.

David Strettle, Chis Ashton are named on the wings, with Alex Goode continuing at full-back.

Meanwhile, there are four changes to the Sale starting XV as Will Addison comes in at outside centre, moving Jonny Leota to 12.

In the front row, props Eifion Lewis Roberts and Alberto de Marchi are rotated with Vadim Cobilas and Ross Harrison, who drop to the bench.

“The lads have taken seven points from three games; we are scoring tries and playing some good rugby,” said Director of Rugby Steve Diamond.

“We would like the rugby loving public from the region to get behind us in our attempt to fly the flag in the North West.”

Form: Saracens are one of two sides to have made a perfect start to the 2014/15 Aviva Premiership Rugby season. Sarries only defeat at Allianz Park since the 2013 Premiership Rugby semi-final came against London Irish in round 13 last season. Sale Sharks ended a four game losing run with their 46-8 eclipsing of London Welsh at AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday. The Sharks have been defeated in their last two away games, at London Irish and at Gloucester, but have not lost three in a row on the road in 2014. Saracens have won their last six Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures against Sale, since the Sharks 28-22 victory at Edgeley Park on 2nd January 2011. Sale’s solo triumph on Saracens soil since 1995 remains their 40-32 win at Vicarage Road in Premiership Rugby in September 2005.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 George Kruis, 3 James Johnston, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Scott Spurling, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Ben Ransom, 23 Nick Tompkins

Sale: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Tom Arscott, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Mark Easter 7 David Seymour, 6 Magnus Lund, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Alberto de Marchi
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Viliami Fahiki, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Andy Forsyth

Date: Saturday, September 27
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Allianz Park
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Kelvin Stewart, Nigel Carrick
Television match official: Trevor Fisher
Timekeeper: Robert Ockenden