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Saracens name full Test XV with a positional switch for Maro Itoje

By Ian Cameron
Ben Earl /PA

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Saracens have named a fifteen full of internationals for their Gallagher Premiership showdown with Sale Sharks in the AJ Bell this weekend.

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The fifteen includes nine England internationals, two Scotland internationals, a Springbok, two Wales players and a Flying Fijian in the starting XV.

Wales centre Nick Tompkins returns from international duty, as does England forward Nick Isiekwe; both of whom featured during the Guinness Six Nations.

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Nathan Hughes – A Fijian Ferrari, Bronco Tests and Playing for England | RugbyPass Offload | EP 29
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Nathan Hughes – A Fijian Ferrari, Bronco Tests and Playing for England | RugbyPass Offload | EP 29

In total, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has made three changes to the starting line-up from the side that beat Bristol Bears in last Saturday’s Showdown match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Isiekwe, who will make his 100th appearances for the club, is joined by Tim Swinson who is back in the second-row, with Maro Itoje moving to blindside flanker. Ben Earl, who was Player of the Match against his former side Bristol Bears last time out, stays at openside with Billy Vunipola at No.8.

Tompkins and Alex Lozowski resume their midfield partnership, with Max Malins, Sean Maitland on the wings and Elliot Daly at fullback.

“We didn’t quite click last week but the group hasn’t been together for a while so we learnt a lot and all of our focus is on finishing this block on a high,” said Tompkins. “Sale have a wealth of talent and they will be very physical but we feel like we are building some good momentum and want to continue that.”

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Alec Clarey has recovered from an ankle injury and will make his first appearance since the end of January on the bench, where he is joined by Theo McFarland.

Owen Farrell, who suffered a head injury against Bristol is not included.

SARACENS:
1 Eroni Mawi
2 Jamie George (c)
3 Vincent Koch
4 Nick Isiekwe
5 Tim Swinson
6 Maro Itoje
7 Ben Earl
8 Billy Vunipola
9 Aled Davies
10 Alex Goode
11 Max Malins
12 Nick Tompkins
13 Alex Lozowski
14 Sean Maitland
15 Elliot Daly

REPLACEMENTS:
16 Tom Woolstencroft
17 Richard Barrington
18 Alec Clarey
19 Theo McFarland
20 Andy Christie
21 Ruben de Haas
22 Duncan Taylor
23 Alex Lewington

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