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Fit-again Nick Isiekwe returns for Saracens ahead of schedule

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Nick Isiekwe has made it back into the Saracens starting line-up ahead of projection after Mark McCall suggested in September that the England lock could be sidelined for up to five months. A July tourist with England in Australia, it was ahead of the start of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season when it emerged that the 24-year-old needed an unspecified surgery.

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A Saracens statement at the time read: “During a routine appointment and after discussion with a consultant, it has been recommended to carry out a procedure.”

Some weeks later, McCall explained: “He will be out for a period of time and it is not for me to say why that is the case but he will be out and we will miss him. He is a great player. We don’t have an exact (comeback) date but we have got an estimation which is between three and five months I think.”

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Isiekwe will now return just over three months after that September 14 McCall update, Saracens claiming that the second-rower is “full of excitement” to be in the team for Friday’s trip to London Irish, a match where the XV shows four changes from last weekend’s European win at Lyon.

Tom Woolstencroft, Isiekwe and Andy Cristie have all been chosen in a pack that will look to help Saracens to a tenth consecutive Premiership win, while record appearances holder Alex Goode has been named at full-back. On the bench, summer signing Eduardo Bello is in line for his debut while Duncan Taylor also returns after injury.

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“I’m massively excited to get back out there this weekend in a huge game for us,” said Isiekwe. “I have to thank all of the medical, strength and conditioning staff and coaches for working so hard with me over the last few months. I can’t wait for it.”

Saracens (vs London Irish): 15. Alex Goode; 14. Alex Lewington, 13. Elliot Daly, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Sean Maitland; 10. Owen Farrell (capt), 9. Ivan Van Zyl; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Tom Woolstencroft, 3. Marco Riccioni, 4. Nick Isiekwe, 5. Hugh Tizard, 6. Andy Christie, 7. Ben Earl, 8. Billy Vunipola. Reps: 16. Kapeli Pifeleti, 17. Robin Hislop, 18. Eduardo Bello, 19. Andrew Kitchener, 20. Jackson Wray, 21. Aled Davies, 22. Duncan Taylor, 23. Max Malins.

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