Sarries ready for historic Wembley bow
September 11, 2009
Steve Borthwick will lead Saracens at Wembley © Getty Images
Saracens and Northampton Saints will make history on Saturday when they play the first club rugby game at the home of English football, Wembley Stadium.
After England booked their place at 2010 football World Cup at the ground on Wednesday, Sarries will be out to make new friends after ambitiously moving their first home game of the season from Vicarage Road.
Director of rugby Brendan Venter has seen no need for changes after his side got their season off to the perfect start by defeating London Irish at Twickenham last weekend.
Glen Jackson and Neil de Kock will again need all of their experience on a daunting stage, the duo starting at halfback. Steve Borthwick wears the captain's armband after an excellent performance in the London Double Header, starting in the second-row alongside seasoned campaigner Hugh Vyvyan.
Alex Goode, impressive with ball in hand against the Exiles, starts in the back three with Noah Cato and Chris Wyles.
The Saints have been forced to test the versatility of Shane Geraghty, moving the former London Irish man in to the fly-half berth. Stephen Myler has failed to recover from an ankle injury and misses out on the 22, with James Downey and Jon Clarke starting in midfield.
Elsewhere, last weekend's match-winner Paul Diggin retains his place on the wing, with Ben Foden and Bruce Reihana completing the attacking option out wide.
Neil Best loses his place in the back-row to Scott Gray, with Phil Dowson and Roger Wilson completing the trio. In the second-row experience replaces youth as veteran Puma Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe replaces Courtney Lawes.
"I've been fortunate enough to play at some of the best stadiums in the world but Wembley really is special," said Venter. "I watched Preston North End at the old stadium but have yet to experience a big match since it was rebuilt and it's going to be really exciting leading the team out. It's an awesome stadium and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up."
Saracens: Alex Goode; Noah Cato, Kameli Ratuvou, Brad Barritt, Chris Wyles; Glen Jackson, Neil de Kock; Rhys Gill, Schalk Brits, Carlos Nieto, Steve Borthwick (capt), Hugh Vyvyan, Wikus van Heerden, Andy Saull, Ernst Joubert
Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Tom Mercey, Richard Skuse, Mouritz Botha, Michael Owen, Justin Marshall, Derick Hougaard, Richard Haughton
Northampton: Ben Foden; Paul Diggin, Jon Clarke, James Downey, Bruce Reihana; Shane Geraghty, Lee Dickson; Soane Tonga'uiha, Dylan Hartley (capt), Santiago Bonorino, Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Juandre Kruger, Phil Dowson, Scott Gray, Roger Wilson,
Replacements: Brett Sharman, Regardt Dreyer, Brian Mujati, Courtney Lawes, Neil Best, Alan Dickens, Barry Everitt, Chris Mayor
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