Saracens are set to ramp up their Heineken Champions Cup title defence after including four of England’s World Cup final players in their squad to face Ospreys on Saturday. 


The defending champions were humbled 10-30 in the opening round last Sunday at Racing, but they have brought in some of their big names to get their campaign up and running at the second attempt. 

Three players who featured in the final in Yokohama against South Africa on November 2 are in the starting XV. They included the debut-making Elliot Daly, who slots in at full-back after making the summer switch from Wasps.

Mako Vunipola lines up at loosehead, George Kruis is chosen at second row while hooker Jamie George makes the bench for the Allianz Park clash which is Saracens’ 100th match in the Champions Cup. 

In total, Mark McCall has changed seven of his starting side following the defeat in Paris in a week where Saracens decided not to appeal their 35-point deduction and £5.3million fine for breaching the Premiership salary cap.   

(Continue reading below…)

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Captain Brad Barritt slots back in at centre after six weeks out and he partners Duncan Taylor who has featured in the previous four games.

Scrum-half Tom Whiteley makes his maiden European start and winger Alex Lewington returns to the back three with Rotimi Segun switching to the right flank.

There is a fresh look to the front row replacements as George, Richard Barrington and Josh Ibuanokpe are selected following international duty, injury and suspension respectively while academy back row Andy Christie could earn a debut run out in European club rugby’s blue-riband competition.

SARACENS (v Ospreys, Saturday)


15 Elliot Daly; 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (capt), 11 Alex Lewington; 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Tom Whiteley; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jack Singleton, 3 Titi Lamositele, 4 Will Skelton, 5 George Kruis, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Jackson Wray. Reps: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Josh Ibuanokpe, 19 Joel Kpoku, 20 Andy Christie, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Matt Gallagher.

WATCH: The Rugby Pod gives its reaction to Saracens not appealing the 35-point deduction and fine for breaching Premiership Rugby salary cap regulations

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