The Saracens team is reuniting with top players from England in an effort to spark their championship defense against Leicester.
The Saracens will have several English national players return for their game against Leicester Tigers on Saturday, following their victory over Argentina in Paris last week to secure third place at the Rugby World Cup.
Mark McCall has selected Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Jamie George, Ben Earl, Billy Vunipola, and Elliot Daly to start in the StoneX Stadium. Theo Dan, who is also part of the England squad led by Steve Borthwick, will be on the bench. After losing their first two Premiership games, Saracens bounced back with a 24-3 win against Gloucester in round three last Friday.
“I am delighted to have returned to Sarries this week,” stated Farrell, the captain for both Saracens and England. “It’s always a pleasure to come back after some time away, and we are eagerly looking forward to starting the season together.”
Solomone Kata, a Tonga wing, has been selected for the bench on Leicester’s team and is expected to make his debut after signing from Exeter in the summer. However, Leicester’s own players from the England team will not be playing in north London. Full-back Freddie Steward, prop Dan Cole, second-rows Ollie Chessum and George Martin, and scrum-half Ben Youngs will be given additional time to rest after playing in France.
Dan McKellar, the head coach of Leicester, denied rumors earlier this week about him potentially taking on the open position of Wallabies coach after Eddie Jones left. Meanwhile, the Tigers confirmed that Anthony Watson, an England national team player, will be returning to the team next month. Despite not being contracted to a club at the time, Watson was selected for England’s Rugby World Cup team but was unable to compete due to an injury.
Last week, Leicester narrowly won a thrilling game against Bath with a late penalty from Jamie Shillcock. They will face a tough challenge against a team filled with talented international players.
Unfortunately, Finn Russell will not be joining the Bath team for their upcoming match against Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens. However, they will have the return of England’s Sam Underhill in the back-row. Additionally, their first-choice scrum-half Ben Spencer will be on the bench.
After their defeat at the Recreation Ground last week, Johann van Graan’s team remained at the top of the standings following their bonus-point wins against Newcastle and Saracens in round three. Thomas du Toit, a prop from South Africa, will start for the second consecutive week, while Tom Dunn is expected to make his 200th appearance for Bath as a substitute. Lewis Ludlam, an English back-row player, will return to the starting lineup for the Saints after appearing as a substitute in their bronze-medal victory against Argentina.
On Sunday, Exeter will be hosting Bristol Bears at Sandy Park. In their first two home games, they have accumulated a total of 108 points – beating Saracens 65-10 on the first day and winning against Sale 43-0 last weekend, in addition to a loss against Harlequins in round two.
The Chiefs’ rugby director, Rob Baxter, has made five adjustments to the team, including a new front row consisting of Scott Sio as loosehead, Ehren Painter as tighthead, and Jack Yeandle as captain at hooker. On the other hand, Bristol’s Sam Grahamslaw will be making his first appearance in the Premiership as hooker, joining the team after the failure of Jersey Reds.