Sarries ready for Exiles challenge
January 26, 2007
Saracens return to Guinness Premiership action on Sunday when London Irish are the visitors to Vicarage Road, kick off 1.30pm, and Director of Rugby Alan Gaffney has named his side for the Round 14 clash.
The backline remains unchanged from that which started against Glasgow last weekend and the only changes to the starting team come in the forwards with Matt Cairns and Kris Chesney named in place of Fabio Ongaro and Paul Gustard.
Other changes come on the bench where prop Cencus Johnston, who was not registered for the European matches, returns and Thomas Castaignede has shaken off a hamstring injury to also make the 22.
Under the agreement to not play England squad members within 7 days of an international match, Andy Farrell will not be playing this weekend.
"London Irish are a very good team and we're expecting a tough contest," explained Gaffney. "They could easily have got a result against Llanelli last weekend in the Heineken Cup and were very unlucky to be drawn in what was probably the hardest pool in the competition. Over the Christmas period, their form in the Guinness Premiership has been good and they have dangerous players right across their side.
"We will have to focus hard on our own game and having reviewed our recent matches against London Irish, we will have to make sure we keep the error count low. In recent matches against them, we played a lot of rugby, but we've lost the games because of mistakes and conceding turnover ball. We can't afford to do that and because of the pace in their side, it makes them very dangerous in all areas of the pitch.
"This is an important fixture for us. We've only played one game in the Premiership this month and going into the break for the six nations, we are keen to cement our place in the top half of the table."
Saracens team vs London Irish
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall
John Griffiths digs into the distant past to try to establish the identity of an England international whose life is a virtual mystery