Saracens primed for Harlequins test at the London Stadium
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 March 2019
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North Londoners return to league action on Saturday and will be boosted by returning international stars
Saracens host capital rivals Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday, but will do so at the London Stadium rather than their Allianz Park home.
As has been the norm for this fixture in recent seasons, the north Londoners have opted to take the home match against Quins to a larger stadium in the capital.
After several years taking the game to Wembley Stadium, the fixture was first played at the home of Premier Leeague outfit West Ham United last term.
A sell-out crowd of 57,000 packed into the London Stadium to watch Mark McCall’s men beat their London rivals 24-11 and they will hope for more of the same this time around.
Ahead of the London derby, Saracens are set to be boosted by the return of several key players from international duty.
The likes of Owen Farrell, Jamie George, the Vunipola brothers and Liam Williams have been all in action for their countries in the Guinness Six Nations over the past six weeks.
With a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at home to Glasgow Warriors to follow next Saturday after the league clash against Quins, Sarries’ stars are returning at a crucial time in the season.
Sean Maitland is among those set to return to club action this weekend having featured for Scotland in recent weeks.
And the wing knows the Allianz Park outfit have reached an important juncture in the campaign.
“It’s a big couple of weeks for us with a big London derby at the London Stadium and then on to Glasgow in Europe,” he said.
“As soon as the Six Nations finishes, things happen so fast towards the end of the season.
“We’re back to rejoin all the boys at Saracens and we now have to concentrate on a couple of competitions to play for.”
In last season’s match against Harlequins at the London Stadium tries from Williams and Maro Itoje helped guide Saracens to a success.
Another win over Quins this weekend would see the north Londoners take a giant stride towards home advantage in the play-off semi-finals, with the capital rivals currently split by 10 points ahead of Saturday’s game.
And with their international stars returning to the fold, McCall’s men are sure to be confident about their chances this weekend.