TEAM NEWS | Northampton Saints v Saracens Men
Director of Rugby Mark McCall says his side will be looking to build on their win over Worcester Warriors as they head to Franklin’s Gardens for their first match of 2022.
The Men in Black got back to winning ways on Boxing Day to remain second in the table, but head to the in-form Northampton on Sunday knowing a tough challenge lies ahead.
There are four changes to the starting line-up and the main headline sees Jamie George return to the XV following an injury sustained on England duty in a major boost to the North Londoners.
George, who will captain the side lines up with Mako Vunipola and Harvey Beaton in the front-row after Vincent Koch returned a positive COVID-19 test, with Maro Itoje and Nick Isiekwe continuing in the second-row.
Theo McFarland comes in to the back-row, alongside Ben Earl and Billy Vunipola who both scored in the win over the Warriors.
Aled Davies and Alex Goode keep up their half-back partnership, and there is also an unchanged midfield with Nick Tompkins and Alex Lozowski keeping their places.
Elliot Daly comes in on the left wing, with Sean Maitland on the right and Max Malins at full-back.
On the bench Eroni Mawi returns to the match day squad and he will be looking to add his power to the front-row, and Gareth Milasinovich is in line for his debut after joining on a two-month loan from Ulster.
McCall says George’s return provides a great lift to the group.
“He was nearly OK for last week but this week he’s raring to go and it’s great to have him back.”
He added: “Against Worcester it was a heck of an effort considering our limited training time so we want to build on that with two really tough games ahead of us.
We’re got Northampton and then Gloucester who are flying so it’s a really big couple of weeks coming up for us.”
Saracens Men team to play Northampton Saints:
1 Mako Vunipola
2 Jamie George (c)
3 Harvey Beaton
4 Maro Itoje
5 Nick Isiekwe
6 Theo McFarland
7 Ben Earl
8 Billy Vunipola
9 Aled Davies
10 Alex Goode
11 Elliot Daly
12 Nick Tompkins
13 Alex Lozowski
14 Sean Maitland
15 Max Malins
16 Tom Woolstencroft
17 Eroni Mawi
18 Gareth Milasinovich
19 Callum Hunter-Hill
20 Jackson Wray
21 Ivan van Zyl
22 Manu Vunipola
23 Rotimi Segun