Planet Rugby

Preview: Saracens v Rovigo

09th October 2009 12:15

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Michael Owen pass for Saracens

Leading from eight: Michael Owen

Saracens get their European campaign up and running on Sunday when Rugby Rovigo visit Vicarage Road in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

In team news ahead of the game, Kevin Sorrell and Rodd Penney get their first starts of the season following injury while there are also full Saracens debuts for Michael Horak, Michael Tagicakibau, Kevin Barrett and Jake Sharp.

England U20s number ten Sharp has come through the ranks at Saracens having first pulled on a shirt as an U7 and after impressing in the club's A-League matches so far this season, Director of Rugby Brendan Venter gives the 19-year-old a first start.

Sorrell returns to first team action for the first time in seven months following knee surgery and Penney also gets a run out after picking up an injury in pre-season. Centre Adam Powell misses out with a hamstring injury picked up in training.

Michael Owen captains the side while Horak, Tagicakibau and Barrett have also impressed for the Saracens Storm this season and as Venter explained, they deserve an opportunity.

"Although we are starting a new competition on Sunday, our focus remains the same and that is to try and win every game," he said.

"We want to go out there on Sunday and perform to the high standards we have already set and continue to grow as a group of players.

"We have made some changes for the game but it really does show the strength of the squad we have at this club.

"Our schedule could see us play 40 games this season and we will need the entire squad fit and fresh for the challenge on Sunday and also the rest of the season."

More to follow...

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Michael Horak, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Rodd Penney, 12 Kevin Sorrell, 11 Richard Haughton, 10 Jake Sharp, 9 Kevin Barrett, 8 Michael Owen (c), 7 Justin Melck, 6 Don Barrell, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Richard Skuse, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Alex Brown, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Wikus van Heerden, 21 Justin Marshall, 22 Derick Hougaard, 23 Noah Cato.

Rovigo: 15 Pablo Calanchini, 14 Roberto Pedrazzi, 13 Andrea Pratichetti, 12 Andrea Sartoretto, 11 Marcello De Gasperi, 10 German Bustos, 9 Pietro Travagli, 8 Niccolò Badocchi, 7 Edoardo Lubian, 6 Younes Anouer, 5 Daniele Tumiati, 4 Tomasso Reato, 3 Giovanni Boccalon, 2 Luke Mahoney, 1 Andrea de Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Flavio Damiano, 17 Gonzalo Buquete, 18 Massimiliano Ravalle, 19 Marco Barion, 20 Juan Cruz Legora, 21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Emanuel Pellegrini, 23 Stefano Canale,

Date: Sunday, October 11

Kick-off: 15:00 BST

Venue: Vicarage Road

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)

Assistant referees: Akim Hadj Bachir (France), Stephan Pomarède (France)

Television match official: John Burtenshaw (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale13:00
Castres vs Leinster15:15
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Brive vs Zebre19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade FrancaisTBC
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615