Aviva Premiership match preview: Saracens v Harlequins
Last Updated: 24/03/13 1:21pm
Saracens enter their top-of-the-table clash with Harlequins on the back of three successive Aviva Premiership victories.
Defending champions Quins travel to the Allianz Park on Sunday looking to wipe out the four-point lead Saracens hold at the head of the table.
The hosts have scored twelve tries in their last three outings which have seen them leapfrog Harlequins, who lost to Exeter Chiefs in their last league encounter.
Harlequins do however enter the clash with momentum after lifting the LV Cup last weekend with victory against Sale Sharks, despite their England contingent being unavailable.
The timing of the clash sees both sides ring the changes as a number of key players return from international duty following the culmination of the Six Nations last weekend.
Saracens welcome back Alex Goode, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell and Mako Vunipola from England duty, while Scotland captain Kelly Brown is also named in the starting line-up.
Farrell will start at fly-half which demotes Charlie Hodgson to the bench alongside John Smit, Neil de Kock and Chris Wyles.
Mike Brown, Danny Care, Joe Marler and captain Chris Robshaw all return to the Harlequins starting XV to face the league leaders.
Ugo Monye and Sam Smith begin on the wings for Harlequins with Matt Hopper and Jordan Turner-Hall partnered in the centres.
Joe Gray comes into the side at hooker as Charlie Matthews gets the nod in the second row alongside George Robson.
John Kingston's bench consists of eight players who all featured in the LV Cup final winning side last weekend.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Ugo Monye, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 18
London Irish and Sale Sharks both took a major step towards Aviva Premiership survival after sharing a 33-33 draw.
Gloucester have made five changes to their side for Friday's clash with defending champions Harlequins.
We look back at some of the highlights from the weekend's action in Premiership.
- McCall salutes England stars
- Sarries charge over Quins
- Narrow loss frustrates Young
- Tigers hunt down Chiefs
- Jones rouses beaten Welsh
- Irish pack delights Smith
- Wasps hurt by Saints
- Irish ease relegation fears
- Burns too hot for Welsh
- Diamond praises tough Sharks
- Sale boost survival hopes
- Wasps v Northampton: Teams
- London Irish v Worcester:Teams
- Gloucester v L Welsh: Teams
- Exeter v Leicester: Teams
- Sale v Bath: Teams