December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, November 1, 2013
Charlie Hodgson will make his first start of the season when Saracens host Newcastle Falcons at Allianz Park in round seven of the Aviva Premiership on Sunday (3pm)
The 32-year-old goal-kicker has recovered from an Achilles injury to partner former Springbok scrum-half Neil de Kock, in what is an experienced half-back pairing for Sarries.
Argentine international Marcelo Bosch is named at outside centre, to make his full debut for the club, and will partner the versatile Chris Wyles in the Londoners’ midfield, with David Strettle, Michael Tagicakibau and Alex Goode in the back three.
Jackson Wray and Will Fraser replace Kelly Brown and Jacques Burger in the back row, whilst Ernst Joubert keeps his place at No.8.
Mouritz Botha partners captain Steve Borthwick at lock, and Jamie George comes in for the Schalk Brits at hooker.
Richard Barrington continues at loosehead prop, with British and Irish Lion Matt Stevens on the opposite side of the scrum at tighthead.
Chris Ashton, Owen Farrell, Joel Tomkins, Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola are all away on international duty with England.
Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall said: “Newcastle are very competitive with some familiar faces within their side.
“They will be well organised and have players capable of quickly changing games, so we will have to be fully focused on our own performance levels to get the result we want”.
Newcastle Falcons have made four changes for the trip to Hendon.
After making his 100th appearance for the Falcons as a second-half replacement in last weekend’s 13-11 triumph over London Irish at Kingston Park, skipper Will Welch makes a welcome return to the starting XV.
Kieran Brookes replaces Oliver Tomaszczyk at tight-head, while former Saracens man Noah Cato and Scotland international Phil Godman get the nod on the wing and at fly-half respectively.
The Falcons sit in eighth place, two points behind Harlequins, who occupy sixth position, and boss Dean Richards admits his side have nothing to lose in the capital this weekend.
“It’s going to be an interesting game against a quality side, but we’re going down there with absolutely nothing to lose,” said Richards.
“They’re a talented side with a lot of strength in depth, and despite them losing a series of players for the autumn internationals, they have top class players coming into the team.”
Sunday’s clash marks the return of former Sarries players Cato and Adam Powell to Allianz Park with the latter relishing the contest.
Powell said: “Saracens is a brilliant challenge for us, especially after the win against London Irish, and it will be a good opportunity to see where we are at as a team, and we’ll be looking to go out there and play some good rugby.
“There’s been a real buzz in training this week, and after you get a win under your belt, there’s always an extra zip in the sessions and everyone has a bit more energy.
“I’m really looking forward to the game.”
Saracens: 15. Alex Goode; 14. Michael Tagicakibau, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Chris Wyles, 11. David Strettle; 10. Charlie Hodgson, 9. Neil de Kock; 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jamie George, 3. Matt Stevens, 4. Steve Borthwick (c), 5. Mouritz Botha, 6. Jackson Wray, 7. Will Fraser, 8. Ernst Joubert.
Replacements: 16. Schalk Brits, 17. Nick Auterac, 18. Petrus Du Plessis, 19. George Kruis, 20. Jacques Burger, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Duncan Taylor, 23. Ben Ransom.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Carlo del Fava, 5 Dom Barrow, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick