Planet Rugby

Preview: Saracens v Toulouse

17th October 2013 11:07

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Farrell v Mcalister

Showdown: Farrell v McAlister

Saracens know they can strike a major blow in the quest for top spot in Heineken Cup Pool 3 with a home victory over Toulouse on Friday.

Sarries made hard work of their narrow win in Galway last Friday up against a spirited Connacht side. After blitzing the Irishmen with a brace of early tries, the game as a contest looked in doubt. Impressive work in attack from Mako Vunipola - who's carrying was outstanding - Schalk Brits and Chris Wyles overwhelmed the hosts.

However, boss Mark McCall will be very disappointed with his side's inability to close out the game, and earn a bonus point, with the Premiership club almost letting the win slip in the dying moments.

Sarries have been domestically rampant thus far; unbeaten, in great form and sitting atop the Premiership table.

The performances of Billy Vunipola, Jacques Burger and a resurgent Chris Ashton have caught the eye in a string of confident victories, and the squad has been boosted by the arrival of new signing Marcelo Bosch following the conclusion of his Rugby Championship duties with Argentina.

Burger returns to the back-row with Alistair Hargreaves, Richard Wigglesworth and Duncan Taylor all coming back into the starting line-up. Bosch is named amongst the replacements.

Toulouse, meanwhile, have endured an inconsistent start to their Top14 season, true to the French mantra of home victories and troubles on their travels.

That said, they continue to boast a plethora of high-profile names, including a number of French internationals.

Their heavy victory over perennial strugglers Zebre was expected, and the all-important bonus point was secured.

Maxime Medard switches to full-back with Clement Poitrenaud at inside centre, whilst Luke McAlister and Jean-Marc Doussain come in at half-back.

Thierry Dusautoir returns the starting XV at openside flanker, whilst Yoann Maestri is in at lock and Schalk Ferreira and Census Johnston are the new props.

With neither the Irish nor Italian outfit expected to pose these two many problems, this clash will give the victor the upper-hand in the race for a first-placed pool finish, and automatic qualification for the business-end of the tournament.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Billy Vunipola, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 James Johnston, 19 George Kruis, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Joel Tomkins.

Toulouse: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Florian Fritz (c), 12 Clement Poitrenaud, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Gillian Galan, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Yannick Nyanga (c), 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Yohan Montes, 19 Gregory Lamboley, 20 Romain Millo-Chluski, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Gael Fickou, 23 Louis Picamoles.

Date: Friday, October 18
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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
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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
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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
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
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International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
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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
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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
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Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
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ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
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3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615