Saracens have made just one change to their starting XV for the biggest match of their Championship season so far, Sunday’s home game versus table-topping Ealing who twice beat them in the pre-season Trailfinders Cup.  

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The relegated Londoners stepped up their promotion efforts with last Sunday’s away win at the previously unbeaten Doncaster and they are now seeking to inflict a first defeat of the Championship campaign on Ealing who lead the way at the top on 30 points with Saracens in third place on 20, ten points behind but with a game less played.  

Fresh from being one of ten staff awarded contract extensions taking them through at the club to 2025, boss Mark McCall has opted to include Jackson Wray in the starting line-up on this occasion with Michael Rhodes dropping out. 

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Otherwise, their Championship XV is jammed with household names, including England skipper Owen Farrell and Test team colleagues Elliot Daly, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola. 

McCall also includes Wales midfielder Nick Tompkins, Scotland winger Sean Maitland and South African World Cup-winning tighthead Vincent Koch for a match that will go a long way towards deciding who will finish top of the eleven-team table ahead of the end-of-season playoffs.   

“This feels like a big game and it’s that time of year where a lot of our players are used to playing important matches so there is real excitement around the group,” said McCall, who is looking to rejuvenate Saracens in the same successful way the scandal-hit Melbourne Storm recovered in Australia’s NRL.

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“Ealing are going well. They are very impressive and are strong all round. We took a step forward against Doncaster and know that we need to do that again on Sunday. Our history shows that big games tend to bring the best out of our group and everybody is fully charged up for this with no room for error.”

SARACENS (vs Ealing, Sunday): 15. Elliott Obatoyinbo; 14. Alex Lewington, 13. Elliot Daly, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Sean Maitland; 10. Owen Farrell (capt); 9. Aled Davies, 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Vincent Koch, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Tim Swinson, 6. Jackson Wray, 7. Sean Reffell, 8. Billy Vunipola. Reps: 16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Richard Barrington, 18. Alec Clarey, 19. Joel Kpoku, 20. Andy Christie, 21. Tom Whiteley, 22. Manu Vunipola, 23. Duncan Taylor.

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