Planet Rugby



Preview: Harlequins v Saracens

26th December 2011 15:34


Peter Stringer Saracens Heineken Cup

Peter Stringer: First start for Sarries

Jordan Turner-Hall returns to the Harlequins midfield for Tuesday's first versus second Aviva Premiership showdown with Saracens at Twickenham.

In what is set to be an 80,000 sell-out, Turner-Hall returns from injury to replace Tom Casson in the one change to the back-line which toppled mighty Toulouse in the Heineken Cup last week, one of the greatest of all Harlequins' victories.

Up front Joe Marler and Chris Brooker return to the front row in place of Mark Lambert and Joe Gray, and Will Skinner, suspended following his red card in France, is replaced by Maurie Fa'asavalu.

Meanwhile, Saracens give Ireland veteran Peter Stringer his first start since joining from Munster with Ben Spencer dropping to the bench, the only change to their back-line from last week's win over the Ospreys.

But Mark McCall is forced into changes in his pack, with Jacques Burger ruled out for eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery this week.

Andy Saull comes in to replace him, and in the second row George Kruis starts in place of Mouritz Botha. In the front row Carlos Nieto comes in with Matt Stevens dropping to the bench.

Form: Harlequins' only defeat in any competition since May was 10-21 to Toulouse at the Twickenham Stoop on December 9. Quins have a perfect played ten, won ten record in Aviva Premiership action this season, whilst Harlequins have won on their last two visits to Twickenham, both against London Irish. Saracens have won their last three games in all competitions, whilst their only Premiership defeat since the opening round was 8-30 at Northampton on round nine. Sarries only victory in their last four visits to Twickenham was in last season's Aviva Premiership Final against Leicester. Saracens have won their last four encounters with Quins. The two teams have clashed once before at Twickenham, with Harlequins winning 24-21 on September 6, 2008.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Tomas Vallejos, 3 James Johnston, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Tim Fairbrother, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Tom Williams.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.

Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 John Smit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Adam Powell, 23 Chris Wyles.

  • Saracens Fixtures
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Exeter vs Saracens16:30
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Saracens vs London Welsh15:00
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Saracens vs London Irish15:00
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Gloucester vs Saracens15:00
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Saracens vs Bath15:00
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Sale vs Saracens14:00
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Saracens vs Sale17:15
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Saracens vs MunsterTBC
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Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
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Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
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Ospreys 9 - 21 Saracens
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Saracens 25 - 20 Harlequins
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Munster 14 - 3 Saracens
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Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont Auvergne
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