Saracens v Oyonnax preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups, odds and stats for the Champions Cup clash
Saracens face Oyonnax for the second time in seven days in the European Champions Cup on Saturday: 13:00 kick-off
Mark McCall has rotated his squad for the Pool 1 clash, making eight changes to starting XV
The French visitors have made nine changes to the side that suffered a heavy defeat last weekend
Saracens host Oyonnax on Saturday and make eight changes from their 45-10 victory in France last weekend.
Mark McCall’s men recorded victories over Toulouse, Ulster and Oyonnax in the opening three rounds and will be eager to build on the platform set by the wins.
Last Sunday’s 45-10 demolition of Oyonnax sent the north Londoners top of Pool 1, with an away fixture against Toulouse and a home tie with Ulster to come.
Schalk Brits and Petrus Du Plessis come into the front row, while Jackson Wray, Kelly Brown and Samuela Vunisa make up the back row for the Pool One leaders.
Neil De Kock is named at scrum-half, as Duncan Taylor and Mike Ellery come in at centre and wing respectively.
Owen Farrell and Neil de Kock are the half-backs for Saturday’s return fixture while Brad Barritt captains the side in the No 12 jersey.
Oyonnax are still seeking their first Champions Cup win in their debut season in the competition and director of rugby Olivier Azam believes his side will benefit from being exposed to the highest level of European rugby.
He told Sky Sports: “For sure this is something new for us, we have not been in this competition before and we have faced a very good team in Saracens,” said the former Gloucester hooker.
“Our players will have learnt a lot from playing against a side like that and helping us adapt to the demands of the tournament and we will look to show some improvement in the rematch.”
Florian Denos, Daniel Ikpefan, Uwa Tawalo, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Regis Lespinas, Julien Blanc, Laurent Delboulbes, Marc Clerc and Florian Faure all come into the starting XV.
Saracens racked up their third straight Champions Cup win as they defeated tournament newcomers Oyonnax 45-10 at Stade Charles Mathon last weekend
The reigning Premiership champions haven’t won four consecutive pool matches in a single Champions Cup campaign since 2011/12
Sarries have won 10 of their last 11 games at home in the Champions Cup, averaging 35 points per game in this run.
This will be Oyonnax’s first Champions Cup match outside of France after playing their first away match at Stade Ernest Wallon against Toulouse.
The French side have never won a European fixture in England, losing all three Challenge Cup ties they have played there by an aggregate score of 30-106.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Saracens: Owen Farrell
Oyonnax: Regis Lespinas
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Mike Ellery, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil De Kock, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Ben Ransom
Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Daniel Ikpefan, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Uwa Tawalo, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10 Regis Lespinas, 9 Julien Blanc, 8 Florian Faure, 7 Pedrie Wannenburg, 6 Valentin Ursache, 5 Geoffrey Fabbri, 4 Leon Power, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Jeremie Maurouard, 1 Laurent Delboulbès
Replacements: 16 Jody Jenneker, 17 Stan Wright, 18 Horace Pungea, 19 Viliami Maafu, 20 Thomas Bordes, 21 Arthur Aziza, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Vincent Martin
Date: Saturday, December 19
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Jonathan Peak (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)