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Saracens make just one change for La Rochelle

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

Saracens have made just one change to the starting line-up from the side that beat the Ospreys last weekend for their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final clash with La Rochelle.

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Nick Isiekwe replaces Andy Christie in the back-row after the Scotland international broke his arm in the Round of 16 clash with Welsh side. Isiekwe will bring additional size to the pack and he partners with Ben Earl and Billy Vunipola in the back-row.

Director of Rugby Mark McCall has named Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Marco Riccioni in the front-row. Maro Itoje and Hugh Tizard make up the second-row.

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Ivan van Zyl will celebrate his 50th appearance for the club as the starting scrum-half, playing alongside captain Owen Farrell.

In the midfield, Nick Tompkins and Alex Lozowski partner up again while a back-three of Sean Maitland, Max Malins, and Alex Goode is named at the back.

On the bench, Callum Hunter-Hill will make his long-awaited return from injury, having suffered a knee injury in the win over Lyon before Christmas. Duncan Taylor will also be looking to continue his strong form after his try-scoring display against the Ospreys.

“I hear it’s an amazing environment. To be taking on the current holders is incredibly exciting and it will be a great occasion, one that we are very much looking forward to,” said Maro Itoje. “You can’t take these moments for granted, knockout rugby is a special privilege and we know we’re playing a very good team but we need to make sure the occasion brings the best out of us.”

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SARACENS:
1 Mako Vunipola
2 Jamie George
3 Marco Riccioni
4 Maro Itoje
5 Hugh Tizard
6 Nick Isiekwe
7 Ben Earl
8 Billy Vunipola
9 Ivan van Zyl
10 Owen Farrell (c)
11 Sean Maitland
12 Nick Tompkins
13 Alex Lozowski
14 Max Malins
15 Alex Goode

REPLACEMENTS:
16 Tom Woolstencroft
17 Eroni Mawi
18 Christian Judge
19 Callum Hunter-Hill
20 Jackson Wray
21 Aled Davies
22 Duncan Taylor
23 Alex Lewington

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B.J. Spratt 3 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

You Poms and Paddies are really nice guys. New Zealand V Ireland - 37 Tests - N.Z. 31 Wins - Ireland 5 Wins - 1 draw. New Zealand V England - 45 Tests - N.Z. 35 Wins -England 8 Wins - 2 draws. Combined - You have beaten the All Blacks 13 Times in 82 attempts over 119 years. The Stats over 100 years + would say, especially England with 6 Times the player pool than New Zealand, you have “a limitation of context” regarding developing your coaches to teach your players how to WIN. So how can England with a 6 times the player numbers have a 17% winning strike rate against New Zealand? and be 8 -0 in Test Series over 100 years. The answer is simple. Your perception of the game. How do you fix it? You need to play in New Zealand for a couple of seasons in your teens, 18 -20 or send coaches over here. Martin Johnstone played 2 seasons here under the mentorship of Colin Meads. When he came here he had rugby shorts with pockets and a handkerchief in one pocket. He played for NZ Under 21 against Wallaby John Eales. He became the toughest player in the game and the best ever English Captain and Captained the Lions twice. Legend! Maybe if he hadn’t come to New Zealand, he may still had those rugby shorts with pockets. Recently Rogan O’Gara spent time at the Crusaders. What a great coach. “Our “mindset is different” and that’s how we have beaten you for 100 years + How the hell he isn’t Coaching Ireland, France, England, Wales, or Scotland I will never know? England has 131,000 Senior rugby Players. Ireland has 21,000 Senior Players. New Zealand has 27,000 Senior Players.

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