Heineken Cup semi-final match preview: Saracens v Toulon

Last Updated: 28/04/13 2:46pm

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Kelly Brown: returns to the back row for Saracens

Kelly Brown: returns to the back row for Saracens

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Saracens will be without flanker Will Fraser in Sunday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulon due to a shoulder injury.

Fraser was forced from the field in last week's defeat by Gloucester as the Premiership leaders' six-game winning run came to an end at Kingsholm.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall admitted: "It's very unfortunate for Will because he's been instrumental in getting us to this stage.

"It's more of a loss to Will than the team, because he would have played. He's been fantastic all season and is a top young-age talent.

"But we have some really good back rows at the club, so we'll be able to accommodate Will's loss. We just feel for him."

Kelly Brown returns to the back row to line up alongside Jackson Wray and Ernst Joubert, while Schalk Brits, Brad Barritt, Mako Vunipola and Chris Ashton are all back in the line-up to face the star-studded French outfit.

Jonny Wilkinson will captain a Toulon side that includes two other England internationals in full-back Delon Armitage and prop Andrew Sheridan, while Steffon Armitage will expect to make an impact from the bench.

Neither side have been to a Heineken Cup final. Saracens are in their second semi-final after losing 18-16 to Munster five years ago, while Toulon are in the last four in only their second season in the top flight of European club rugby.

Both clubs lead their domestic competitions but history favours Saracens - five of the last six semi-finals have been won by the side with 'home' advantage on the day.

As for the 'Wilkinson factor', Sarries skipper Steve Borthwick told Sky Sports: "As every team we play we analyse them carefully but there comes a point in sport when you have to concentrate on producing a performance you are proud of.

"Jonny is a phenomenal player and a huge part of leadership is the personal example you set and clearly Jonny sets an excellent example in every team he plays in."

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Schalk Brits, 3 Matt Stevens, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 6 Jackson Wray, 7 Kelly Brown, 8 Ernst Joubert.
Replacements:16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 George Kruis, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Jonny Wilkinson (capt), 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde; 1 Andrew Sheridan, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 3 Carl Hayman, 4 Bakkies Botha, 5 Nick Kennedy, 6 Danie Roussouw, 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 8 Chris Masoe.
Replacements:16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Joe van Niekerk, 20 Steffon Armitage, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Jocelino Suta.

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