London Irish v Saracens - Aviva Premiership match preview

Last updated: 9th February 2013  

David Strettle Saracens AVP 2012

David Strettle: Returned from international duty to strengthen Saracens

Ian Humphreys

Ian Humphreys: Back to bolster London Irish against Saracens

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Scott Lawson, George Skivington and Ian Humphreys all return to the London Irish starting XV for Saturday's Premiership clash with Saracens at the Madejski Stadium.

Lawson will be joined by Max Lahiff and Halani Aulika in the front row; George Skivington partners Bryn Evans in the second row, the New Zealander will also captain the side, while Ian Humphreys and Pat Phibbs will form the half-back pairing.

England centre Jonathan Joseph was a late withdrawal for the hosts due to an ankle injury - Guy Armitage switching to outside centre and Shane Geraghty stepping into the starting XV at 12.

"It's great that we will be back playing at Madejski in front of our home crowd in such a big game," stated London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith.

"Saracens are a formidable team in the Aviva Premiership and Europe and they'll give us a thorough examination. In saying that, we don't fear any team in this league and the boys are itching to put in a big performance and hopefully get the result as well."

Sarries on form

Meanwhile, Saracens will be looking to extend a formidable winning run that stretches back eight games in all competitions.

The Londoners are able to count on the services of David Strettle, Will Fraser, George Kruis, Duncan Taylor and Joel Tomkins after international duty and all five start against the Exiles.

Steve Borthwick is also back to captain the side and forms a second-row partnership with Alistair Hargreaves, while Neil de Kock, Matt Stevens and John Smit return to the starting line-up.

Alex Goode, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell, Mako Vunipola and Kelly Brown miss the game as they are still away with their national sides.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans (Captain), 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18Leo Halavatau, 19Jamie Gibson, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Kieran Low, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Jack Moates

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 George Kruis, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Nick Auterac
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 James Short

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