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Preview: Saracens v Harlequins

22nd March 2013 11:11

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SKY_MOBILE Owen Farrell Brad Barritt - Saracens Heineken Cup

Farrell and Barritt: Back for Sarries

Saracens welcome back their international contingent for Sunday's top-of-the-table Premiership clash with Harlequins at Allianz Park.

A third successive sell-out at Sarries' new home sees Alex Goode, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell and Mako Vunipola all return to the starting line-up after Six Nations duty with England while Scotland captain Kelly Brown is also back in the side.

Farrell starts the game at fly-half which sees Charlie Hodgson among the replacements. He is joined on the bench by John Smit, Neil de Kock and Chris Wyles.

Saracens boss Mark McCall is expecting a tough battle against Quins.

"Under the guidance Conor O'Shea, Harlequins have been one of the most consistent sides for the past 18 months," he said.

"It's a top of the table match and one that everyone connected with the club is looking forward to.

"We welcomed back the international players to the squad this week after international duty and there is a real buzz around the club.

"The depth of the squad has been tested in the past few months and we have come through that well, giving us competition for places across the pitch. That is exactly what we want."

Meanwhile, Mike Brown, Danny Care, Joe Marler and captain, Chris Robshaw also return from England duty to start for the defending champions.

In the Harlequins pack, Joe Gray is named at hooker, while Charlie Matthews starts in the second row with George Robson.

Ugo Monye and Sam Smith start on the wings, with Matt Hopper and Jordan Turner-Hall partnering in the centres.

All eight of the replacements were involved in last week's LV= Cup victory over Sale Sharks.

Form: It's a top two showdown at Allianz Park with Saracens only having lost one of their last eight Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters: 16-29 at London Irish in round 14. Sarries have won all three previous matches played at Allianz Park, whilst they have not been defeated in any home match since Clermont Auvergne visited Vicarage Road in last season's European Cup quarter-finals. Harlequins, the new Anglo-Welsh Cup winners, have lost two of their last four matches in the Premiership, to Exeter and Wasps. Quins, the best away side in the Premiership, have won their last six away games in all competitions since their 18-21 defeat at Bath in the Premiership on 23 November. Harlequins only win over Saracens in their last seven meetings was 24-19 at Wembley Stadium on 31 March 2012.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Ugo Monye, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care,8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.

Date: Sunday, 24 March
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: David Grashoff

  • Harlequins Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , December 20
Harlequins vs Newcastle15:00
Saturday , December 27
Harlequins vs Northampton15:00
Sunday , January 4
London Welsh vs Harlequins14:30
Saturday , January 10
Harlequins vs Leicester15:00
Sunday , February 15
Wasps vs Harlequins14:00
Saturday , February 21
Harlequins vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , December 7
Harlequins vs Leinster15:15
Saturday , December 13
Leinster vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , January 17
Harlequins vs WaspsTBC
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
  • Harlequins Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
LV= Cup
Friday , November 7
Harlequins 31 - 21 Newport Gwent D'gons
Sunday , November 2
Saracens 25 - 20 Harlequins
More LV= Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Wasps 16 - 23 Harlequins
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 Castres
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 10
Leicester 22 - 16 Harlequins
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
6Wasps820
7Sale Sharks820
8Harlequins819
9Gloucester816
10Newcastle Falcons813