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The trip across London is the first match in relegated Saracens’ 14-game journey to the Championship. The reigning English and European champions’ demise was confirmed by Premiership Rugby last weekend following non-compliance with the £7million salary cap this season.
It came on the back of them being docked 35 league points and fined £5.36m in November for salary cap breaches across the last three campaigns.
Lying 19 points adrift of eleventh-placed Leicester, that is now an irrelevance, with clubs like the Tigers and London Irish, in tenth, knowing they are safe from being dragged into any relegation dogfight.
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With Saracens down, it is likely to mean a surreal atmosphere at the Twickenham Stoop, where Quins will continue jostling for a top-six place. “As always, it will be a keenly-contested match,” Quins head of rugby Paul Gustard said.
“We have great respect for Saracens as a rugby team and know we will have to be at our best to get the result we want.
“Both sides have equal numbers of players out due to injuries or internationals. We want to continue to develop our game and move on up. We’ve had another good week training in preparation for this match, and we are confident going into the game.”
Grudge match! https://t.co/snVwdwnp8d
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 24, 2020
Saracens show six changes in the pack, with only prop Vincent Koch and number eight Jackson Wray remaining following last weekend’s victory over Racing 92 that secured a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final place.
HARLEQUINS: 15. Aaron Morris; 14. Ross Chisholm, 13. Cadan Murley, 12. Paul Lasike, 11. Gabriel Ibitoye; 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Danny Care; 1. Santiago Garcia Botta, 2. Elia Elia, 3. Will Collier, 4. Stephan Lewies, 5. Matt Symons, 6. James Chisholm, 7. Chris Robshaw, 8. Alex Dombrandt. Reps: 16. Jack Musk, 17. Nick Auterac, 18. Simon Kerrod, 19. Tevita Cavubati, 20. Semi Kunatani, 21. Martin Landajo, 22. Brett Herron, 23. Tom Penny.
SARACENS: 15. Matt Gallagher; 14. Alex Lewington, 13. Alex Lozowski, 12. Brad Barritt (capt), 11. Rotimi Segun; 10. Manu Vunipola, 9. Richard Wigglesworth; 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jack Singleton, 3. Vincent Koch, 4. Callum Hunter-Hill, 5. Joel Kpoku, 6. Nick Isiekwe, 7. Calum Clark, 8. Jackson Wray. Reps: 16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Titi Lamositele, 18. Josh Ibuanokpe, 19. Andy Christie, 20. Sean Reffell, 21. Ben Spencer, 22. Dom Morris, 23. Elliott Obatoyinbo.
WATCH: Damning report reveals the extent of the Saracens salary cap breaches
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