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- Aviva Premiership
- 2nd Dec 2012
- KO 15:00
- Ground: Vicarage Road
- Att: 5,960
Saracens v Gloucester: Aviva Premiership preview
Saracens captain Steve Borthwick will make his 100th appearance for the club in Sunday's Aviva Premiership fixture against Gloucester at Vicarage Road.
A battle between second and third in the league, with both on 28 points, each side will be looking to dig deep for what could be a pivotal win.
Although Saracens have suffered back-to-back defeats in all competitions, they have only lost once in their last 17 Premiership fixtures at Vicarage Road.
Charlie Hodgson returns from injury to start the match at fly-half with Rhys Gill also back from a rib problem to start in the front row.
Chris Wyles starts at full-back following his spell away on international duty with the USA, and Neil de Kock is named in the team at scrum-half.
Schalk Brits and Kelly Brown are on a rest week after their involvement in the autumn internationals while Jackson Wray, Adam Powell, Justin Melck, Jacques Burger and Joe Maddock all miss out through injury.
Gloucester have also named a strong starting line-up, and with Freddie Burns away on England duty, Billy Twelvetrees will move to fly-half.
This will see Mike Tindall move from outside to inside centre and be partnered in the midfield by Tim Molenaar.
Martyn Thomas replaces Shane Monahan on the left wing as the only other change to the back-line that started against Sale Sharks last week.
Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 George Kruis, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Kameli Ratuvou.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Tim Molenaar, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Martyn Thomas, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Jim Hamilton (capt), 4 Will James, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Tim Taylor, 23 Shane Monahan.
What they said:
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies
"I'm sure Saracens won't have been impressed with their performance, or their result, against Worcester last Friday and will pick it up against us this weekend.
"It's a difficult place to go and play, it's one of the smallest pitches in the league, and they know how to play that field.
"You have to be smart. You have to play a similar game to them in some ways. But you also have to be prepared to step up and take your game to them.
"They play good territory; they have a big chase and put a lot of pressure on to you. If you're not ready for it, then you'll get caught out."
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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com