Planet Rugby

Preview: London Irish v Saracens

13th April 2012 12:53

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SKY_MOBILE Alex Corbisiero front row at London Irish

Leading Exiles: Alex Corbisiero

Alex Corbisiero will be the youngest London Irish player in the professional era to captain the Exiles when he leads the side out against Saracens at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The England international will be joined in the front row by Faan Rautenbach, who is one of five changes and two positional changes from the side that faced Exeter Chiefs.

Delon Armitage starts in the back three with Sailosi Tagicakibau and Tom Homer. Joe Ansbro moves from outside centre to inside centre where he will be joined by Jonathan Joseph. Matt Garvey moves from the back row to the second row to partner Bryn Evans with Ofisa Treviranus and Richard Thorpe joining Jamie Gibson in the back row.

Meanwhile, Saracens have made four changes to their starting side.

In the forwards, George Kruis and Jackson Wray are named in the starting XV with Mouritz Botha and Justin Melck on the replacement's bench.

In the backs, Neil de Kock and Michael Tagicakibau both start with Richard Wigglesworth on the bench and Owen Farrell ruled out with a minor knock.

On the bench, Joel Tomkins comes into the matchday squad with James Short also ruled out with a minor knock.

Form: London Irish have picked up just four league points from their last six Aviva Premiership Rugby matches - the poorest return of any side over that period. The Exiles have won only one of their last four matches at Madejski Stadium in allcompetitions: 23-15 over Gloucester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 4 February. Saracens have slipped to successive defeats against Harlequins in the Premiership and Clermont Auvergne in the European Cup but have not lost three in a row since March 2010. Sarries' solo away defeat since November was 11-16 at Worcester in the Premiership on 24 February. Saracens have won their last two games against London Irish but have not been victorious at Madejski Stadium since 23 March 2007.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer 14 Delon Armitage, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Joe Ansbro, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Jamie Gibson , 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Bryn Evans , 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 David Paice, 1 Alex Corbisiero (c).
Replacements: 16 James Buckland 17 Max Lahiff 18 Leo Halavatau 19 Jebb Sinclair 20 Alex Gray 21 Topsy Ojo 22 Steve Shingler 23 Ross Samson

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Michael Tagicakibau, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Adam Powell, 23 Joel Tomkins.

Date: Saturday, April 14
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 15.00 BST 16.00 GMT)
Referee: Martin Fox

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PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
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5Wasps411