Heineken Cup match preview: Saracens v Ulster
Last Updated: 06/04/13 5:34pm
Saracens have made six changes to their side in preparation for their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster at Twickenham on Saturday.
Mark McCall welcomes back an international contingent who were rested for Saracens' 22-13 victory against London Wasps last weekend.
Brad Barritt and David Stettle return to the Sarries back line while Schalk Brits, Matt Stevens, Alistair Hargreaves and Kelly Brown are included in the starting pack.
Owen Farrell returns to his customary fly-half role with the return of Barritt at centre meaning Charlie Hodgson is demoted to the bench alongside Chris Wyles who loses his place to Strettle.
In the forward line Ernst Joubert, Will Fraser, Mako Vunipola and captain Steve Borthwick are the only players to retain their places as a returning quartet feature.
Ulster travel to London boosted by the return of winger Tommy Bowe who has recovered from injury to make the match-day squad.
The Ireland international has been absent since December when he sustained a knee ligament injury but is named on the bench for Saturday's knock-out fixture.
Meanwhile All Black prop John Afoa is back in the starting XV after missing Ulster's last outing for the birth of his third child.
Luke Marshall starts at centre after recovering from concussion he suffered playing in Ireland's Six Nations encounter with Italy while Iain Henderson is preferred at blindside flanker with Robbie Diack dropped to the bench.
Saracens enter the quarter-final in fine form as they enjoy a four-point lead at the head of the Aviva Premiership while Ulster have won just two of their last five encounters in the RaboDirect PRO12.
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 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Tommy Bowe.
What they said...
Saracens coach Mark McCall
"We go into the game in a good place in both the Premiership and a home quarter-final in Europe. Twickenham is a familiar venue as many of our squad have played here frequently in recent years and of course everyone is really looking forward to the occasion."
Ulster coach Mark Anscombe
"We're playing in the quarter-final of a great competition, at one of the best grounds in rugby, against the side leading the Aviva Premiership and there's going to be a big crowd; it doesn't get any better than that."
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