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Preview: Saracens v Sale Sharks

04th January 2013 11:47

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Owen Farrell Sale v Saracens

Starting ten: Owen Farrell

Saracens return to Vicarage Road on Sunday when Sale Sharks are the visitors for the Aviva Premiership Round 13 clash.

In team news ahead of the game, Owen Farrell starts the match at fly-half while Steve Borthwick returns to captain the side from the second row. Schalk Brits also returns at hooker and Richard Wigglesworth gets the nod at scrum half.

The only other change from the side that beat Northampton Saints last weekend sees James Short named on the wing in place of the rested Chris Ashton.

"Sale Sharks come to us on the back of a win over Worcester Warriors and with quality players all over the pitch, they are a dangerous side," said Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall.

"The odd result apart, they have been involved in many close games and we know they will fight for everything on the pitch on Sunday, so we have to be ready."

Meanwhile, Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel returns to the Sale starting line-up after recovering from injury, replacing Cillian Willis.

Andy Powell returns at number eight, with Richie Vernon moving to openside flanker to replace captain Dave Seymour. New signing Daniel Braid is named amongst the replacements.

Form: Saracens only defeat in their last eight Aviva Premiership contests was 3-12 at Worcester Warriors on 23 November. This game is scheduled to be Saracens 159th and last Premiership encounter at Vicarage Road since October 1997 - their record in Watford being won 112, lost 43, drawn 3. Sale Sharks doubled their tally of Premiership victories this season at home to Worcester on Friday. The Sharks' only away win in the tournament since December 2011 was 24-19 at Gloucester on 21 April. Sale have won just one of their last eight Premiership encounters with Saracens: 28-22 at Edgeley Park on 2 January 2011. The Sharks' only victory at Vicarage Road in 17 previous visits in all competitions was 40-32 in the Premiership on 25 September 2005.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 James Short, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Richie Vernon, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Aston Croall, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Daniel Braid, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Charlie Amesbury, 23 Cameron Shepherd.

Date: Sunday, January 6
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Andrew Watson
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet
Assessor: Brian Campsall

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