Planet Rugby

Preview: Saracens v Munster

14th December 2012 12:33

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Owen Farrell Saracens Aviva Premiership

Moved to 10: Owen Farrell

Saracens have moved Owen Farrell from outside centre to fly-half for their Heineken Cup Pool rematch with Munster at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Both teams are level on match points in Pool 1 and in team news ahead of what will be a near sell-out crowd in Watford, Farrell starts the game at ten, with Joel Tomkins, David Strettle and George Kruis all coming into the starting line-up from the side that faced Munster last weekend.

Charlie Hodgson, Chris Wyles and Ernst Joubert all move to the bench while the hamstring injury that Andy Saull picked up on Monday in the A-League semi-final rules him out of the 23. Adam Powell, Jackson Wray, Jacques Burger, Justin Melck, Alistair Hargreaves and Joe Maddock also miss out through injury.

"It's not often in sport that you get a chance to rectify things that may have gone wrong the week before, but that's the beauty of these rounds three and four matches against the same opposition and it represents a great opportunity for the squad to put in the kind of performance we know we can deliver," said Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall.

"We are level on match points and both teams have the chance to take control of the group going into the final two rounds of matches. But we have to make sure that our fundamentals and foundations are excellent across the pitch if we are to get the result that we want."

Meanwhile, Munster make just one change for the return game with Casey Laulala into the side in place of the injured Keith Earls.

Earls trained in Limerick on Tuesday but later complained of groin trouble and so withdraws with Laulala resuming the centre partnership he enjoyed with James Downey for the Racing Metro and Edinburgh games.

On Tuesday at the media briefing Rob Penney had expressed concern over several players, including Earls, but there was no further cause for concern after those players - Simon Zebo, BJ Botha, Dave O'Callaghan - came through training on Friday in Cork.

The teams:

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

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett (capt), 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Peter O'Mahony, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Peter Butler, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Luk O'Dea.

Date: Sunday, December 16
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
Television match official: Gérard Borreani (France)

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