Saracens select all five Lions to start the second leg despite a 60-0 lead over Ealing
Saracens have a 60 points advantage in their two-legged Championship final versus Ealing Trailfinders but boss Mark McCall is going all out in this Sunday’s second meeting as he has named an unchanged starting line-up that includes a dozen internationals and all five of the club’s 2021 Lions tour picks.
The 2019 Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup double winners were in irresistible form last weekend at Vallis Way, smashing Ealing’s hopes of causing an upset with a power-packed performance.
However, despite promotion back to the Premiership now being secured, McCall has opted against taking anything easy for the second leg of the final as he has included Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly to start for Saracens before they link up with the Lions in Jersey.
Warren Gatland’s squad have been preparing on the Channel Island this past week ahead of their South African tour and they will be joined by the Saracens contingent at training next week for the pre-tour departure match in Edinburgh versus Japan.
Even Springboks pick Vincent Koch isn’t taking anything easy before he flies home to join up with Rassie Erasmus’ South Africa squad as he too has been included by McCall to start at the StoneX. It will be Koch’s 100th appearance for the club and he becomes the 13th centurion player in the current Saracens squad.
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“It’s a massive honour and I’m very humbled by it. This club has been on an unbelievable journey and it’s a dream come true to make 100 appearances,” said Koch on the Saracens website ahead of the second leg match. “From day one the coaches have looked after me and it’s an honour to play with such world-class players week in, week out. The way the club has looked after my family is amazing, it is truly special to be part of this club both on and off the field.”
SARACENS (vs Ealing, Sunday): 15. Alex Goode; 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. Michael Rhodes, 7. Jackson Wray, 8. Billy Vunipola. Reps: 16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Ralph Adams-Hale, 18. Alec Clarey, 19. Callum Hunter-Hill, 20. Andy Christie, 21. Tom Whiteley, 22. Manu Vunipola, 23. Duncan Taylor.
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