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Saracens change 13 and Harlequins two as semi-final teams named

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Saracens have made 13 changes to their XV for this Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership semi-final at home to defending champions Harlequins, who have changed just two of their team for the playoff fixture. Mark MacCall’s 2021 Championship title winners were hammered 54-7 last Saturday by Gloucester and they have now reverted back to a more familiar full-strength lineup.

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Just two players who started at Kingsholm, the second row Tim Swinson and winger Max Malins, will start again at the StoneX as the likes of Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and skipper Owen Farrell have all been recalled for their clash with the defending 2021 Premiership champions.

Unlike Saracens, Harlequins went to Exeter last weekend with their first XV on show and it means they now only change two starters for their semi-final. Cadan Murley and Huw Jones are recalled to the team at the expense of Aaron Morris and the injured Louis Lynagh.

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Jones is named at full-back, a positional pick that sees Tyrone Green, last week’s No15 at Sandy Park, switch to the wing on this occasion.

Harlequins head coach Tabai Matson said: “The players have worked relentlessly this season to make sure the team grew off the back of last season’s title win. Standing as the only team to retain a spot in the playoffs is a testament to that hard work and growth.

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“Saracens are a tough, well-organised team that we will have to be clinical against if we want to progress to the final. As long as we are accurate and stay true to how we play as Harlequins, we have a great chance to beat a tough and proud team on their home ground in what should be a fantastic semi-final London derby.”

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SARACENS: 15. Alex Goode; 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Elliot Daly, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Max Malins; 10. Owen Farrell (capt), 9. Aled Davies; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Vincent Koch, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Tim Swinson, 6. Theo McFarland, 7. Ben Earl, 8. Billy Vunipola. Reps: 16. Kapeli Pifeleti, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Alec Clarey, 19. Nick Isiekwe, 20. Andy Christie, 21. Ivan van Zyl, 22. Alex Lozowski, 23. Duncan Taylor

HARLEQUINS: 15. Huw Jones; 14. Tyrone Green, 13. Joe Marchant, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Cadan Murley; 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Danny Care; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Jack Walker, 3. Will Collier, 4. Matt Symons, 5. Hugh Tizard, 6. Stephan Lewies (capt), 7. Will Evans, 8. Alex Dombrandt. Reps: 16. Joe Gray, 17. Simon Kerrod, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Matas Jurevicius, 20. Tom Lawday, 21. Lewis Gjaltema, 22. Tommy Allan, 23. Luke Northmore.

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