December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 13, 2013
Saracens make one change for the visit of Gloucester on Sunday (2pm) with Duncan Taylor getting his first outing of the season, replacing Brad Barritt at inside centre.
Fresh from the opening round bonus-point victory against London Irish last weekend, director of rugby Mark McCall explained the players are looking forward to running out at Allianz Park for the first time this term.
“The players love running out to a packed stadium at Allianz Park. It’s a fantastic venue and we can’t wait for Sunday’s game,” he said.
“We got off to a winning start against London Irish last weekend and we were pleased with the result, but we know that we can improve on our performance and that is our challenge against a very talented Gloucester squad.”
Last weekend’s double try-scorer Jamie George keeps his place at hooker despite the return of Schalk Brits from suspension, with the South African taking his place on the bench.
Also named as a replacement is summer signing James Johnstone and the prop could make his competitive debut if he takes to the field. Elsewhere, Mouritz Botha also takes up a spot on the bench with Scott Spurling and Petrus de Plessis left out.
For Gloucester, Welsh international scrum half Tavis Knoyle will make his first Aviva Premiership after joining them in the summer from the Scarlets.
He was a second half replacement in the defeat to Sale Sharks last weekend and will partner Freddie Burns at half back. Burns will be making his 100th competitive appearance for the club.
Also coming into their starting line-up is Fijian international flanker Akapusi Qera, as director of rugby Nigel Davies shuffles his back row.
Matt Kvesic moves from openside to blindside to accommodate Qera, while Sione Kalamafoni takes over from Ben Morgan at number eight, with Morgan named amongst the replacements.
Davies said: “We’ve made one or two changes but, in the main, it’s up to the guys to redeem themselves really.
“There’s some technical stuff that we have to get right in terms of the set-piece. And, when we get more ball, we can actually dictate for longer periods of the game.
“It may not be a huge tactical game. It may well come down to whoever wants it the most. It’s the sort of thing that Saracens pride themselves on, in terms of dominating the opposition and being more physical.
“It’s a great challenge, it’s exactly what we want. Probably the best fixture we could have had.”
15 Chris Wyles; 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle; 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth ; 1 Rhys Gill, 2 Jamie George, 3 Matt Stevens, 4 Steve Borthwick ©, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 6 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 8 Ernst Joubert.
Replacements; 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 James Johnston, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Ben Ransom
Gloucester Rugby: Rob Cook; Charlie Sharples, Henry Trinder, Billy Twelvetrees, James Simpson-Daniel; Freddie Burns, Tavis Knoyle; Nick Wood, Darren Dawidiuk, Rupert Harden; Tom Savage (capt), Lua Lokotui; Matt Kvesic, Akapusi Qera, Sione Kalamafoni
Replacements: Koree Britton, Dan Murphy, Yann Thomas, Elliott Stooke, Ben Morgan, Dan Robson, Mike Tindall, Martyn Thomas