Planet Rugby

Preview: Saracens v Zebre

11th December 2013 09:14

Share:

Marcelo Bosch for Saracens

Thirteen: Marcelo Bosch

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has named his side that will face Zebre in their first Heineken Cup game at their new home, Allianz Park.

Owen Farrell returns at fly-half, starting his first game in their number ten shirt since returning from international duty. He is partnered by 30-year-old scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth.

Duncan Taylor and Marcelo Bosch partner each other at centre, wearing the twelve and thirteen jerseys respectively whilst Alex Goode, Chris Ashton and David Strettle make up the back three.

In the pack, Richard Barrington and James Johnston continue as props and are joined by Jamie George in the front-row, with Schalk Brits moving to a bench that includes Mako Vunipola.

Try scorer for a second successive game last weekend George Kruis partners captain Steve Borthwick at lock.

Jacques Burger returns to the fray for the first time after his 36 tackle heroics away at Exeter three weeks ago, with Jackson Wray coming into the side at blindside flanker as Billy Vunipola replaces last week's man of the match Ernst Joubert at number eight.

"If you look at the Zebre squad who we faced last week, in the likes of Marco Bortolami, Quintin Geldenhuys, Mauro Bergamasco, Salvatore Perugini and the familiar face of Kameli Ratuvou, they have players who have vast experience on the domestic and international stage. So we can expect a very competitive match," said McCall.

Meanwhile, Zebre will be eager to improve on last week's 39-10 loss to the English club.

Roberto Quartaroli comes in at thirteen as Kameli Ratuvou moves to twelve in place of Gonzalo Garcia. Luciano Orquera and Brendon Leonard form a new half-back combination.

Andrea Manici has been handed a start at hooker.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 James Johnston, 2 Jamie George, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Ernst Joubert, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Ben Ransom.

Zebre: 15 Gullo Palazzani, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Kameli Ratuvou, 11 Giambattista Venditti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samu Vunisa, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Luciano Leibson, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Mike Van Vuren, 20 Emiliano Caffini, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Tommaso Iannone, 23 Giiulio Toniolatti.

Date: Saturday 14th December
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon, Kieran Barry (both Ireland)
TMO: Alan Rogan (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39