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Two British and Irish Lions return to Saracens' starting XV

By Online Editors
Billy Vunipola in action against Glasgow Warriors in Heineken Champions Cup. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

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Saracens have welcomed back two British and Irish Lions for their clash with Sale Sharks.


Billy Vunipola and Liam Williams will make their return from long-term injuries when Saracens head to the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night.

Number 8 Vunipola has been absent since breaking his arm against Glasgow Warriors in October while Wales international Williams, who scored in this fixture last year, has been out with a hamstring problem.

David Strettle comes in on the wing after dotting down in his first match in two months last weekend and Richard Wigglesworth has recovered from a groin strain to start at nine.

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Alongside Vunipola in the pack, prop Vincent Koch is fit to play and is joined in the front row by hooker Tom Woolstencroft with Jamie George rested.


Schalk Burger is reinstated on the flank in Sarries seventh change.

Saracens team to face Sale Sharks at AJ Bell Stadium on Friday 4th January (KO 19H45):

15 Alex Goode
14 Liam Williams
13 Nick Tompkins
12 Alex Lozowski
11 David Strettle
10 Owen Farrell (c)
9 Richard Wigglesworth

1 Mako Vunipola
2 Tom Woolstencroft
3 Vincent Koch
4 Will Skelton
5 George Kruis
6 Nick Isiekwe
7 Schalk Burger
8 Billy Vunipola



16 Christopher Tolofua
17 Richard Barrington
18 Titi Lamositele
19 Calum Clark
20 Jackson Wray
21 Ben Spencer
22 Marcelo Bosch
23 Sean Maitland

Meanwhile Steve Diamond has named his squad to face Saracens.

The Sale Sharks Director of Rugby has made one personnel change to his Match-day 23 with Scotland International Josh Strauss moving to number 8 in place of Jean Luc Du Preez, who sustained a groin injury during the Sharks emphatic win at Kingsholm last Saturday.

Sharks Academy winger Arron Reed will take up a position on the bench in place of Strauss.

STARTING XV: 15. Chris Ashton, 14. Denny Solomona, 13. James O’Connor, 12. Sam James, 11. Byron McGuigan, 10. Robert Du Preez, 9. Faf De Klerk, 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Rob Webber, 3.Will-Griff John, 4. Josh Beaumont, 5. James Phillips, 6. Jono Ross (Capt.) 7. Tom Curry, 8. Josh Strauss.

REPLACMENTS: 16. Curtis Langdon, 17. Tom Bristow, 18. Joe Jones, 19. Bryn Evans, 20. Ben Curry, 21. Will Cliff, 22. Luke James, 23. Arron Reed.


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