Planet Rugby

Preview: Harlequins v Saracens

27th September 2013 10:57

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Saracens flanker Kelly Brown on a run

Starts: Kelly Brown

Saracens have made one change to their side that will face Harlequins at the Stoop on Saturday, with Kelly Brown replacing Ernst Joubert.

Brown starts his first game for this season, after recovering from an ankle injury - the Scot takes his place in the back-row at blindside flanker alongside Jacques Burger and Billy Vunipola.

George Kruis keeps his place at lock, whilst in the backs the back-line remained unchanged from the seven that played against Bath.

Jackson Wray is back in the mix, named as a substitute as Nick Auterac, Michael Tagicaikibau and Jack Wilson all come into the matchday 23.

Meanwhile, winger Tom Williams will make his 200th competitive appearance for Harlequins as he starts in an unchanged starting side from last week's victory over Worcester Warriors.

Nick Easter continues in the second-row with George Robson. Captain Chris Robshaw leads the team from openside flanker and is joined in the back row with Maurie Fa'asavalu and Tom Guest.

In the backs, Tom Casson continues his centre partnership with George Lowe, while Danny Care and Nick Evans are named at half backs.

The one change to last week's squad is in the replacements as Matt Hopper is named in place of Sam Smith.

Jordan Turner-Hall saw a specialist and required surgery on a hip injury last Saturday. The centre is expected to be out until the New Year and joins Joe Gray, Paul Doran Jones, Charlie Matthews, Nick Kennedy, Sam Twomey, Ross Chisholm, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Sam Stuart and Harry Sloan on the list of those who are unavailable for selection due to injury.

Form: Harlequins got back to winning ways last Friday at Worcester with a 37-13 victory, however last time out at Twickenham Stoop they were defeated 6-13 by Northampton and have not lost back to back games at the venue since February 2010. Saracens have made the perfect start to the Aviva Premiership Rugby season with three maximum point hauls - no club has ever begun a Premiership season with four bonus point wins. This is already Saracens best start to a Premiership campaign since they won their opening eight encounters in 2009/10. Harlequins have defeated Saracens just once in their last eight fixtures: 24-19 at Wembley Stadium in March 2012. Saracens have won on five of their last six visits to The Stoop.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 George Merrick, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Matt Hopper.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 19 James Johnston, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Michael Tagicakibau, 23 Jack Wilson.

Date: Saturday, September 28
Kick-off: 15:15 BST
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey, Andy Watson
Television match official: Sean Davey
Timekeeper: Matthew Peters
Assessor: Brian Campsall

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