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Only one member of Saracens' six-strong England contingent will face Richmond

By Liam Heagney
Paolo Odogwu and Jamie George /PA

Hooker Jamie George is the only member of the six-strong England contingent from Saracens who will be involved in this weekend’s Greene King IPA Championship game away to Richmond on Sunday. Much was made during the disappointing Guinness Six Nations about the general lack of form of the Saracens players.

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Relegated from the Gallagher Premiership, they had no competitive club action over the winter in between England’s December Autumn Nations Cup final win over France and the February 6 Six Nations loss to Scotland. 

Billy Vunipola was the only one to tog out, featuring in a pre-season loss to Ealing, but England skipper Owen Farrell, loosehead Mako Vunipola, hooker George, second row Maro Itoje and full-back Elliot Daly were all inactive and the consensus was this affected them on duty with Eddie Jones. 

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Both George and Daly were dropped during the Six Nations while there was also criticism of the form shown by Farrell and the Vunipola brothers. Meanwhile, Itoje came under much scrutiny for his high penalty count.     

It all fed into a miserable campaign that ended with a hammering last weekend in Dublin by Ireland and only George is on deck for Saracens this weekend as the club, automatically relegated from the Premiership for repeated salary cap breaches, looks to pick up momentum following an opening day loss at Cornish Pirates and a home win versus Jersey.   

Farrell and Billy Vunipola both suffered head knocks at Aviva Stadium last weekend while Mako Vunipola was withdrawn at the interval following a troubled first-half showing. Scotland winger Sean Maitland is on the Saracens bench after he was ruled out of selection for Friday night’s Test re-fixture versus France due to a Premiership Rugby cap on the number of English-based players made available to Gregor Townsend.    

SARACENS (vs Richmond, Sunday)
15 Will Hooley
14 Alex Lewington
13 Dom Morris
12 Duncan Taylor
11 Rotimi Segun
10 Manu Vunipola
9 Aled Davies
1 Richard Barrington
2 Jamie George
3 Vincent Koch
4 Callum Hunter-Hill
5 Tim Swinson
6 Mike Rhodes
7 Sean Reffell
8 Jackson Wray (capt)
Replacements
16 Kapeli Pifeleti
17 Ralph Adams-Hale
18 Alec Clarey
19 Joel Kpoku
20 Andy Christie
21 Alex Day
22 Harry Sloan
23 Sean Maitland

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B.J. Spratt 5 hours ago
Jono Gibbes' reaction to France U20s putting 55 points on New Zealand

N.Z. Under 20'‘s concede 7 tries to France Unfortunately New Zealand Rugby has lost over 25% + of players between 12-18 over the last 3-5 years, possibly more. Poor administration and a Shocking Public Perception about the NZRFU has finally caught up with these dinosaurs. 66% of N.Z. Population lives North of Hamilton and 52% of Auckland population are Asian, who would rather play football. Rugby is dying while other Sports are growing. The rules need to change around the collision/tackle but personally I think the absolute “Arrogance and Stupidity” that the NZRFU has demonstrated over the decades, “with their jobs for the boys attitude” has led to their demise. A Professional Players Union that can somehow “Disassociate itself from the “Old men with bad breath and dandruff” that is the NZRFU, will be a huge challenge. Personally I think it’s far too late to recover and rejuvenate interest in Rugby by young players. Rugby is booming in France and that’s the difference. A booming Professional domestic League. NZRFU are “Not fit for purpose” and have no idea about commercial reality My kids generation would rather their kids don’t play Rugby. Very aware of CTE and the NZRFU arrogance and stupidity, in denying its existence. Finally, the NZRFU have managed to cover up ”Numerous serious crimes over the decades, committed by players, coaches and administrators simply because the tentacles of their “Power and Influence” have reached all sectors of New Zealand Society, including the Judiciary, Politicians, Police and Big business. Denying CTE even exists is a “no brainer for them”

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