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Newcastle v Saracens: Teams
At Kingston Park, Friday April 20, kick-off 7.45pm
England fly-half Owen Farrell will return to Saracens' starting XV for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership clash with Newcastle at Kingston Park.
The 20-year-old was ruled out last week's 28-19 over London Irish with a dead leg but is now back in the line-up to replace Charlie Hodgson, who drops to the bench.
The only other change to the side that defeated London Irish at the Madejski Stadium sees James Short comes onto the wing in place of Michael Tagicakibau.
Newcastle director of rugby Gary Gold has named an unchanged side after the Falcons claimed a second straight win against Gloucester last time out.
Gold, hopes to continued his side's resurgence on Friday but knows the relegation candidates will need to find something special to defeat the defending champions, who are still looking to secure a home play-off semi-final.
"In the last few weeks we have been in a situation where every game has been a cup final and this week will be no different," he said.
"Saracens will be right up for it as they are playing for a home semi-final and we are playing for Premiership survival.
"The type of style of rugby that they play is incredibly difficult to play against and each player knows exactly what they are doing.
"It has been a tough week in training as we have the Premiership champions coming to town on Friday night. They are very well-drilled and you do not reach two Premiership finals in a row by accident.
"They are incredibly well coached with a good bunch of guys down there - I would go as far as saying that this is our toughest challenge of the season to date, there is no question about that."
Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Corne Uys, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Peter Stringer,8 Adam Balding, 7 Will Welch, 6 Ally Hogg, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jonny Golding.
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 James Hall, 19 James Goode, 20 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 21 Mark Wilson, 22 Chris Pilgrim, 23 Tom Catterick.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Michael Tagicakibau.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com