Planet Rugby

Preview: London Irish v Saracens

08th February 2013 12:46

Share:

Marland Yarde London Irish v Saracens AVP 2012

Big game for Exiles: Saracens visit Madejski Stadium

Scott Lawson, George Skivington and Ian Humphreys will all return to the London Irish starting line-up for Saturday's Premiership clash with Saracens at Madejski Stadium.

Lawson will be joined by Max Lahiff and Halani Aulika in the front row. George Skivington will partner Bryn Evans in the second row; the New Zealander will also captain the side. Ian Humphreys and Pat Phibbs will form the half-back combination.

Jonathan Joseph is a late withdrawal due to ankle injury, meaning Guy Armitage is moved to outside centre with Shane Geraghty starting at 12. Kieran Low comes onto the bench.

"It's great that we will be back playing at Madejski in front of our home crowd in such a big game," said London Irish Director of Rugby, Brian Smith.

"Saracens are a formidable team in the Aviva Premiership and Europe and they'll give us a thorough examination. In saying that, we don't fear any team in this league and the boys are itching to put in a big performance and hopefully get the result as well."

Meanwhile, Saracens welcome back David Strettle, Will Fraser, George Kruis, Duncan Taylor and Joel Tomkins from international action to start the game against the Exiles.

Steve Borthwick also returns to captain the side and forms a second row partnership with Alistair Hargreaves while Neil de Kock, Matt Stevens and John Smit are back in the starting line-up.

Alex Goode, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell, Mako Vunipola and Kelly Brown miss the game on international duty.

Form: London Irish's 6-10 defeat in Cardiff in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday ended a four game winning run in all competitions. The Exiles, however, remain the worst side in Aviva Premiership Rugby on current form, having obtained just six league points from their last half a dozen encounters. Saracens have won their last eight contests in all tournaments since their 9-15 reversal in Munster on 8 December. Sarries only away defeat in the Premiership since September was 3-12 at Worcester on 23 November. Saracens have taken the last four encounters between the two clubs.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans (Captain), 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18Leo Halavatau, 19 Jamie Gibson, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Kieran Low, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Jack Moates

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 George Kruis, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 James Short.

Date: Saturday, February 9
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
Referee: Andrew Small

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Castres vs BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Preview
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Preview
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Preview
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00