Two England players who picked up injuries during the November internationals are due to make their returns to action this weekend.
England flanker Tom Curry, who was one of the standout players for during the June series with South Africa, is on the bench for Sale Sharks’ European Rugby Champions Cup game with Bordeaux-Begles at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.
The 20-year-old flanker picked up the knock in England’s 12-11 November win against the Springboks and missed games against New Zealand, Japan and Australia.
Chris Ashton, who has scored five tries in two European Challenge Cup games for the Sharks, is at full back.
Sharks’ Director of Rugby Steve Diamond said, “After Bordeaux, we remain top of the Pool but we need to compound last week’s away victory with – hopefully – another win this week. Lads who’ve been rested or out with injuries are returning to the squad.”
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The lock has been sidelined since going off in England’s autumn international against New Zealand with a calf injury five weeks ago.
Elsewhere back rower Ben Earl, who made an instant impact as a replacement in last weekend’s win over Saturday’s hosts, scoring two tries in quick succession replaces Jackson Wray at Number 8.
Argentina international Juan Figallo is back on the bench.
Wray, Liam Williams and Billy Vunipola are missing through injury. Williams had a scan on his hamstring in the week while Vunipola should be available in a fortnight.
Saracens team to face Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday 15th December (KO 13H00):
15. Alex Goode, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Nick Tompkins, 12. Brad Barritt ©, 11. Alex Lewington, 10. Owen Farrell 9. Ben Spencer, 1. Mako Vunipola 2. Jamie George, 3. Vincent Koch, 4. Will Skelton, 5. George Kruis, 6. Mike Rhodes
7. Schalk Burger, 8. Ben Earl
Replacements:16. Tom Woolstencroft 17. Richard Barrington 18. Juan Figallo 19. Dom Day 20. Nick Isiekwe 21. Calum Clark 22. Richard Wigglesworth 23. Alex Lozowski
Sharks team to face Bordeaux-Begles at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday 15th December (KO 13H00):
15.Chris Ashton; 14.Denny Solomona, 13.Sam James, 12.Luke James, 11.Byron McGuigan; 10.Rob du Preez, 9.Faf de Klerk; 1.Tom Bristow, 2.Curtis Langdon, 3.Alexandru Tarus, 4.Josh Beaumont, 5.James Phillips, 6.Jean-Luc du Preez, 7.Ben Curry, 8.Josh Strauss (capt.).
Replacements 16.Rob Webber, 17.Ross Harrison, 18.WillGriff John, 19.Bryn Evans, 20.Tom Curry, 21.Will Cliff, 22.Connor Docherty, 23.Arron Reed
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