Mark McCall has named his Saracens team to play Harlequins in their Gallagher Premiership semi-final at Stone X Stadium.
SARACENS V HARLEQUINS REFEREE
- Referee: Luke Pearce (129th Premiership game, 3rd semi-final).
- Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley & Anthony Woodthorpe. TMO: Ian Tempest.
- Citing Officer: Budge Pountney.
- StoneX Stadium, 1.30pm – Live on BT Sport
JAMIE GEORGE SAID:
“This is something we’ve been aspiring to for the last 18 months. It’s where we want to be and it’s where we feel most comfortable.
“Intensity of training has really improved and there’s a good feeling in the camp as generally these games tend to bring the best out in us.
“We’re aware of how important the game is, how much we want it and the history of the game. We’ve been building towards something, and now it’s time to show up.”
– Saracens have won six of their last seven Premiership matches against Harlequins (L1); additionally, they have also won their last 10 matches at home against Harlequins, including their only previous meeting in the play-offs (31-17 in the 2013/14 semi-finals).
– Saracens have won their last four matches in the play-off stages of the Premiership, scoring an average of 41 points per match during those victories; they have won five of their previous six semi-final ties at home, with their only loss during that period coming against Northampton Saints in May 2013 (13-27).
– Saracens lost their most recent league match (7-54 v Gloucester Rugby) after winning seven in a row previously; their 47-point margin of defeat against Gloucester was their second-heaviest defeat in the Premiership (10-60 v Wasps in February 2020).
– Harlequins have won their last two Premiership play-off matches after losing two in a row previously; their most recent semi-final victory also took place away from home (43-36 v Bristol Bears in June 2021); all four of their previous play-off victories came by margins of seven points or fewer.
– Harlequins have lost two of their last three Premiership fixtures (W1) after winning six in a row previously; this run includes losses in their last two away fixtures, however, both of those defeats came by margins of fewer than 10 points with Quins scoring over 30 points in each game.
– Saracens have the highest place-kicking success rate of any side in this season’s Premiership (79%); they’ve slotted more kicks than any other team overall this season (122) including a league-high 56 penalty goals.
– Harlequins (94%) and Saracens (92%) have won a greater percentage of their own scrums than any other side in this season’s Premiership; Saracens have also won a greater percentage of their opposition’s scrums than any other team in the league this term (17%).
– Harlequins have averaged 4.4 breakdown steals per game in the Premiership this season, the most of any team; individually only Bevan Rodd (17) has made more breakdown steals than Quins duo Andre Esterhuizen (15) and Alex Dombrandt (13, level with Julian Montoya).
– Saracens’ Max Malins is the top try-scorer in this season’s Premiership (16), while teammate Tom Woolstencroft is one of just three forwards to have scored 10+ tries this season (10); however, no player has assisted as many tries as Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care (17).
– Harlequins’ Andre Esterhuizen (234) and Tyrone Green (239) have made the most carries of any backs in this season’s Premiership; they rank third and fourth overall respectively, behind Ruan Ackermann (287) and Saracens’ Billy Vunipola (248). Esterhuizen also tops the charts for post-contact metres this season (793).
Saracens team to play Harlequins
Saracens Men team to play Harlequins:
1 Mako Vunipola
2 Jamie George
3 Vincent Koch
4 Maro Itoje
5 Tim Swinson
6 Theo McFarland
7 Ben Earl
8 Billy Vunipola
9 Aled Davies
10 Owen Farrell (c)
11 Max Malins
12 Nick Tompkins
13 Elliot Daly
14 Sean Maitland
15 Alex Goode
16 Kapeli Pifeleti
17 Eroni Mawi
18 Alec Clarey
19 Nick Isiekwe
20 Andy Christie
21 Ivan van Zyl
22 Alex Lozowski
23 Duncan Taylor