Planet Rugby

Preview: Saracens v Harlequins

22nd March 2013 11:11

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Owen Farrell Brad Barritt - Saracens Heineken Cup

Farrell and Barritt: Back for Sarries

Saracens welcome back their international contingent for Sunday's top-of-the-table Premiership clash with Harlequins at Allianz Park.

A third successive sell-out at Sarries' new home sees Alex Goode, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell and Mako Vunipola all return to the starting line-up after Six Nations duty with England while Scotland captain Kelly Brown is also back in the side.

Farrell starts the game at fly-half which sees Charlie Hodgson among the replacements. He is joined on the bench by John Smit, Neil de Kock and Chris Wyles.

Saracens boss Mark McCall is expecting a tough battle against Quins.

"Under the guidance Conor O'Shea, Harlequins have been one of the most consistent sides for the past 18 months," he said.

"It's a top of the table match and one that everyone connected with the club is looking forward to.

"We welcomed back the international players to the squad this week after international duty and there is a real buzz around the club.

"The depth of the squad has been tested in the past few months and we have come through that well, giving us competition for places across the pitch. That is exactly what we want."

Meanwhile, Mike Brown, Danny Care, Joe Marler and captain, Chris Robshaw also return from England duty to start for the defending champions.

In the Harlequins pack, Joe Gray is named at hooker, while Charlie Matthews starts in the second row with George Robson.

Ugo Monye and Sam Smith start on the wings, with Matt Hopper and Jordan Turner-Hall partnering in the centres.

All eight of the replacements were involved in last week's LV= Cup victory over Sale Sharks.

Form: It's a top two showdown at Allianz Park with Saracens only having lost one of their last eight Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters: 16-29 at London Irish in round 14. Sarries have won all three previous matches played at Allianz Park, whilst they have not been defeated in any home match since Clermont Auvergne visited Vicarage Road in last season's European Cup quarter-finals. Harlequins, the new Anglo-Welsh Cup winners, have lost two of their last four matches in the Premiership, to Exeter and Wasps. Quins, the best away side in the Premiership, have won their last six away games in all competitions since their 18-21 defeat at Bath in the Premiership on 23 November. Harlequins only win over Saracens in their last seven meetings was 24-19 at Wembley Stadium on 31 March 2012.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 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 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Ugo Monye, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care,8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.

Date: Sunday, 24 March
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: David Grashoff

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 Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
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-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM 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