Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Team News
There are four Aviva Premiership fixtures on Saturday, with league leaders Saracens facing Harlequins being arguably the pick of the bunch.
Worcester Warriors v Wasps (Kick-off 15:00)
Worcester are chasing a fourth straight home win in the Premiership when they face Wasps in the West Midlands derby at Sixways on Saturday.
Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan has made five changes with Tom Biggs, Ryan Mills, Nick Schonert, Jaba Bregvadze and Phil Dowson are all restored to the starting line-up.
The backline sees a reshuffle as Bryce Heem moves to outside centre with Biggs replacing Heem on the right wing, joining Chris Pennell and Cooper Vuna in the back three.
Meanwhile, Christian Wade is set to make his 100th appearance for Wasps this weekend whileRob Miller, Thomas Young and Bradley Davies are all named in the starting line-up.
Miller returns at full-back, with Charles Piutau moving to outside centre and Elliot Daly shuffling across to pair up with Piutau in the midfield, as Siale Piutau gets a rest having played in every game since his arrival at the club in February.
Italian international Lorenzo Cittadini starts in the front row with Jake Cooper-Woolley moving to the bench. Bradley Davies and Joe Launchbury form the second-row partnership, following Kearnan Myall’s knee injury against Exeter Chiefs.
Thomas Young earns a start at openside flank after impressing off the bench last weekend, with George Smith rested for this one.
Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Tom Biggs, 13 Bryce Heem, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 James Johnston, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Andy Symons
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Charles Piutau, 12 Elliot Daly, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Brendan Macken
Saracens v Harlequins (Kick-off 15:15)
Saracens will be skippered by England man Mako Vunipola in the club’s 13th game at Wembley Stadium since 2009 against Harlequins.
Vunipola will captain the side from loosehead prop and will join Schalk Brits (hooker) and Petrus Du Plessis (tighthead prop) in the Saracens front row.
Jim Hamilton returns for Saracens at lock, rotating with Maro Itoje and the former Scotland international will pack down alongside England Grand Slam winning second rower, George Kruis. Alistair Hargreaves misses out with a slight knock whilst Hayden Smith takes his place amongst the replacements.
In the back row, Billy Vunipola is named at number eight with Jackson Wary (openside flanker) and Michael Rhodes (blindside flanker) taking their place in the Sarries loose-forward trio.
In the halves, after a spell on the sidelines Saracens welcome back Charlie Hodgson at fly-half, with Owen Farrell named on the bench. At scrum-half, Neil De Kock comes in for Richard Wigglesworth.
In the backs, Duncan Taylor moves to inside centre with Marcelo Bosch starting in the number 13 jersey. Alex Goode (full-back), Chris Wyles (left wing) and Chris Ashton (right wing) make up the Sarries back three.
Meanwhile, there are four changes to the Harlequins starting team that beat London Irish in the Challenge Cup quarter-final last week.
Joe Marchant returns to the starting line-up amongst an otherwise unchanged backline.
Among the forwards Will Collier starts in the front row, with Charlie Matthews named in the second row alongside Sam Twomey. Nick Easter returns to the back row and partners Chris Robshaw and Jack Clifford.
Among the replacements, Mat Luamanu provides cover for the back row, with Matt Hopper returning to the bench.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis,4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola (c)
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Samu Vunisa, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Nick Tompkins
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Nick Easter, 7 Jack Clifford, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Sam Twomey, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 George Merrick, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Matt Hopper, 23 Ross Chisholm
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers (Kick-off 17:30)
Northampton have made four changes to their side that will take on rivals Leicester in the Premiership at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.
Ahsee Tuala, Tom Kessell, Kieran Brookes and Tom Wood come into the team, with Wood also named as captain against the Tigers.
Ben Foden, Kahn Fotuali’i, Paul Hill and Ben Nutley drop out of the starting XV, with the former duo missing out altogether in the squad.
Meanwhile, Leicester Tigers have picked an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday’s Premiership derby.
Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Tom Kessell, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood (c), 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 JJ Hanrahan, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Tom Collins
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Adam Thompstone