Planet Rugby

Preview: Saracens v Harlequins

21st March 2014 11:26

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Saracens fly half Owen Farrell training on Wembley Stadium pitch

Fly-half: Owen Farrell

Saracens have named Mako Vunipola and Owen Farrell in their starting XV for Saturday's Premiership clash with Harlequins at Wembley Stadium.

With over 80,000 tickets sold for the showdown, Mark McCall welcomes back the duo from England duty along with full-back Alex Goode.

Goode is joined by David Strettle and Chris Ashton in a strong Saracens back-three.

Argentine international Marcelo Bosch wears the number 13 shirt and is partnered by Brad Barritt.

Fresh from his 22 point haul in Rome last weekend Farrell start the game at fly-half, with Richard Wigglesworth joining him in the halves.

Up front, Vunipola returns to the side at loosehead prop alongside Schalk Brits and James Johnston in the Saracens front row.

Steve Borthwick captains the side at lock, with George Kruis his second-row partner.

In the back-row, Jacques Burger will start at openside flanker, with Jackson Wray and Ernst Joubert at blindside and eight respectively.

Meanwhile, Quins have made six changes to the side that played Worcester Warriors in Round 16 as Joe Marler returns from international duty with England to start at loosehead.

Danny Care, Mike Brown and Chris Robshaw have been rested following the Six Nations and will return against London Irish at The Stoop next Saturday.

Tom Williams, Matt Hopper, Tom Casson and Nick Evans return to the starting line-up as Ollie Lindsay-Hague continues at full-back.

In the forwards, Joe Gray and Kyle Sinckler partner Marler with Nick Kennedy and George Robson in the second-row.

Luke Wallace returns to the openside and is joined by Maurie Fa'asavalu and Nick Easter.

Form: Conor O'Shea's side are four points off the pace in the race for the playoffs, with Bath Rugby and Leicester Tigers currently in possession of the coveted third and fourth spots. Saracens are without a win on their last three visits to Wembley, since beating Welsh side Ospreys there 31-26 in the Heineken Cup in December 2011. However, they have won their last three Aviva Premiership matches, since being upset by London Irish at Allianz Park in round 13.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 James Johnston, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter (c), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Joe Trayfoot, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Sam Smith.

Date: Saturday, March 22
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Kickoff: 15:15 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Sean Davey

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