Saracens ‘as strong as can be’ for trip to Bath
PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 November 2019
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Saracens are poised to name their strongest available team, including their complete England contingent, when their Gallagher Premiership survival bid begins in earnest against Bath.
Friday's trip to the Recreation Ground is their first league match since accepting a 35-point deduction and £5.36million fine for breaching salary cap regulations, leaving them 26 points adrift of safety.
Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, George Kruis, Elliot Daly and Jack Singleton have already played since returning from the World Cup and after missing Saturday's Champions Cup rout of the Ospreys, Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola are ready to join them.
When asked if the returning trio will start against Bath, director of rugby Mark McCall said: "I think so, yes. They're all good to go. Apart from our long-term injuries - so Liam Williams, Alex Goode, Michael Rhodes, Juan Figallo and Max Malins - everybody else is available for selection this weekend.
"The England players have been great since coming back in. They're in great spirits, surprising to some maybe. There's a real sense of togetherness and unity there.
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"We talked a lot last week about the situation we were in and we decided as a group we'd draw a line under the salary cap issue and get on with the task in hand. It's what we're paid to do and what we're going to do."
Saracens ran out 44-3 winners over Ospreys in front of a subdued Allianz Park crowd of 7,531 last weekend as debutant Daly set up two tries for Rotimi Segun.
And despite losing their first pool match at Racing 92 in Paris, McCall believes the Champions Cup can be retained if they defy the crisis that has engulfed the club to reach the quarter-finals.
He said: "Overall it was a good performance. We were a bit sloppy in the first half of the first half. We were a little bit sideways and not as confrontational as we wanted to be.
"But our performance improved as the gamee went on.
"We're still ambitious to do well in the competition and still want to win the games. We have just got some decisions to make along the way about when the internationals play.
"If we get through to the quarter-finnals we've got a chance - a good chance - because in my experience this team is pretty good in knockout rugby."