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Saracens

  • Smit,
    Penalty goals: Hodgson (2), Farrell (2),
17 - 16

Northampton

  • Dowson,
    Penalty goals: Myler (3),
    Conversions: Myler,
  • Aviva Premiership
  • 30th Dec 2012
  • KO 14:15
  • Ground: Stadium MK
  • Att: 18,856

Saracens v Northampton - Aviva Premiership match preview

Last updated: 30th December 2012   Subscribe to RSS Feed

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Saracens have made four changes to their starting XV for the Aviva Premiership clash with Northampton at stadiummk on Sunday.

Ernst Joubert comes in at No 8 to skipper the side as club captain Steve Borthwick is rested and his place in the second row taken by George Kruis, who switches from flanker.

Schalk Brits drops to the bench after the win against Bath last time out, with his place at hooker taken by fellow South African star John Smit.

Richard Wigglesworth and Owen Farrell also have to settle for spots on the bench as their respective places at scrum-half and inside centre are taken by Neil de Kock and Brad Barritt.

Andy Saull, Alex Goode, Jackson Wray, Alistair Hargreaves, Joe Maddock, Adam Powell, Jacques Burger and Justin Melck all miss the match through injury

Northampton also make four changes to their line-up following their 18-9 defeat to league leaders Harlequins, although three of those are made in the process of overhauling the front row.

Captain Dylan Hartley comes back in at hooker after serving a suspension and is joined by props Brian Mujati and Alex Waller. The remaining change sees Tom May replaced by Dom Waldouck at inside centre.

Sarries currently lie one point behind Quins at the Aviva Premiership summit while Northampton are two points outside the top four.

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert (c), 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 George Kruis, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 James Short.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 GJ Van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Alex Waller.

Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May.

What they said...

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder

"Things didn't go quite our way against Harlequins so everyone has been focused and determined in training this week.

"We certainly have a point to prove against Saracens, and we have the belief in the players' ability and desire to get a result in Milton Keynes.

"Saracens are one of the top teams in Europe, but we know that when we play at our best we are a match for anyone. So nothing less than a top performance will do as we look to end 2012 in a positive way."

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Aviva Premiership
19:45Northampton vs Wasps
Saturday 28th March
15:00London Irish vs Newcastle Falcons
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14:00Sale Sharks vs Gloucester
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Friday 10th April
19:45Newcastle vs Bath
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15:00Harlequins vs Gloucester
15:15Saracens vs Leicester
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14:00Exeter vs Northampton
14:30London Welsh vs Wasps
15:00London Irish vs Sale
Friday 24th April
19:45Bath vs London Irish
Saturday 25th April
14:00Sale vs Harlequins
15:00Gloucester vs Newcastle
15:00Leicester vs London Welsh
15:15Northampton vs Saracens
Sunday 26th April
14:00Wasps vs Exeter
Friday 8th May
19:45Harlequins vs Bath
Saturday 9th May
14:00Sale vs Newcastle
15:00Northampton vs London Welsh
15:00Gloucester vs London Irish
15:15Wasps vs Leicester Tigers
Sunday 10th May
14:00Saracens vs Exeter
Saturday 16th May
15:30Exeter vs Sale

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Phil Edwards

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