Earl included as Saracens name extended 32-man squad for Ulster
Saracens boss Mark McCall has chosen to bring a 32-strong squad with him to face Ulster in Belfast on Friday night in a pre-season friendly just two weeks before the Londoners play their first match back in the Gallagher Premiership on September 17.
The newly-promoted Championship title winners are set to travel to Bristol in a fortnight’s time as top-flight title favourites for the new 2021/22 league season in England and McCall is using the first of two friendly matches against his old club Ulster to run through his non-Lions tour options before taking on Pat Lam’s Bears at Ashton Gate.
Friday’s game in front of 10,000 fans in Belfast will see Ben Earl, Nick Isiekwe and Alex Lozowski all in line to play for Saracens for the first time since their respective season-long loans at Bristol, Northampton and Montpellier, deals arranged while the Londoners spent a season outside the Premiership.
Club debuts are also in the pipeline for a trio of new signings – prop Marco Riccioni, second row Theo McFarland and scrum-half Ivan van Zyl after McCall selected an extended squad featuring 19 forwards and 13 backs. Ben Harris, the recent Team GB Tokyo Olympian, is also included after he recently agreed to a long-term deal following his 7s stint.
“We are excited at the prospect of playing again and in front of such a vibrant crowd as is always the case when you play Ulster,” said McCall. “It’s an opportunity for our players, on the back of five weeks of hard work, to test themselves against quality opposition and to gain crucial match fitness as we edge towards the start of the Premiership.
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“It’s great to have our players who were out on loan last season back in our playing squad, as well as some players who are new to the club who will form a big part of our future.” Following Friday’s match, Saracens will host Ulster next Thursday at the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in London.
SARACENS SQUAD (vs Ulster)
Forwards: Ralph Adams-Hale, Harvey Beaton, Andy Christie, Alec Clarey, Sam Crean, Ben Earl, Callum Hunter-Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Joel Kpoku, Ethan Lewis, Eroni Mawi, Theo McFarland, Sean Reffell, Marco Riccioni, Tim Swinson, Janco Venter, Billy Vunipola, Tom Woolstencroft, Jackson Wray (joint capt);
Backs: Aled Davies, Alex Goode (joint capt), Ben Harris, Alex Lewington, Alex Lozowski, Sean Maitland, Dom Morris, Elliott Obatoyinbo, Rotimi Segun, Nick Tompkins, Manu Vunipola, Ivan van Zyl, Charlie Watson.
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