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No Billy Vunipola as Saracens and Gloucester each make five changes

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

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Saracens have made five changes to their starting XV to take on Gloucester this Saturday at the StoneX Stadium following last Sunday’s away win over Northampton which kept the London club in second place in the Gallagher Premiership, nine points behind leaders Leicester. 

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Three changes are in the pack, starting with the Wasps-bound Vincent Koch chosen at tighthead in place of Harvey Beaton. The South African had recently been isolated with Covid-19.

Tim Swinson is restored to the second row where he partners Maro Itoje while Nick Isiekwe switches into the back row with Theo McFarland dropping to the bench. Andy Christie, meanwhile, is chosen in place of the absent Billy Vunipola, who came off at half-time at Franklin’s Gardens. Saracens boss McCall had talked up the England recall prospects of Vunipola and his loosehead brother Mako in midweek, but there was no mention of an injury.  

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In the backs, Dom Morris replaces Nick Tompkins in the midfield with Rotimi Segun starting on the right wing in place of Sean Maitland. 

The visiting Gloucester have also made five changes to the starting line-up that narrowly lost to Harlequins last Sunday, Santiago Carreras, Mark Atkinson, Jonny May, Charlie Chapman and Alex Seville all coming into the side.

“Gloucester are a really strong team with good fundamentals,” reckoned Saracens boss McCall. “Their pack is strong with a good scrum, lineout and driving maul. Their half-backs are playing well and they have an exciting backline They are a dangerous side.”

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SARACENS: 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George (capt), 3. Vincent Koch, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Tim Swinson, 6. Nick Isiekwe, 7. Ben Earl, 8. Andy Christie; 9. Ivan van Zyl, 10. Alex Goode; 11. Elliot Daly, 12. Dom Morris, 13. Alex Lozowski, 14. Rotimi Segun, 15. Max Malins. Reps: 16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Gareth Milasinovich, 19. Callum Hunter-Hill, 20. Theo McFarland, 21. Ruben de Haas, 22. Nick Tompkins, 23. Alex Lewington.

GLOUCESTER: 15. Lloyd Evans;  14. Santiago Carreras, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Jonny May; 10. Adam Hastings, 9. Charlie Chapman; 1. Alex Seville, 2. Jack Singleton, 3. Fraser Balmain, 4. Freddie Clarke, 5. Matias Alemanno, 6. Jordy Reid, 7. Lewis Ludlow (capt), 8. Ruan Ackermann, Reps: 16. Santiago Socino, 17. Ciaran Knight, 18. Kirill Gotovtsev, 19. Ed Slater, 20. Jack Clement, 21. Ben Meehan, 22. Billy Twelvetrees, 23. Louis Rees-Zammit. 

 

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