Saracens v Cardiff Blues- LV=Cup match preview

Last updated: 27th January 2013  

Robin Copeland Cardiff Blues 2013

Robin Copeland: Playing for Cardiff Blues

Alex Goode of Saracens runs with the ball during the Heineken Cup

Alex Goode: Features for Saracens this weekend

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Saracens are playing their first match at their new Allianz Park home on Sunday when Cardiff Blues visit in the LV=Cup.

The match is a test event at their new ground with a limited attendance, with it also being the first professional game on the artificial turf pitch.

Having been released by England, Mouritz Botha and Alex Goode are both in the starting line-up.

In the back row, England U18 international Maro Itoje will also make his debut for Saracens.

Jamie George has been named at hooker while Carlos Nieto, Joe Maddock, Nils Mordt, Duncan Taylor and James Short are also in the line-up. Adam Powell also returns from injury.

Flanker Justin Melck is another returning from injury, named on the bench for his first appearance of the season. He is joined among the replacements by Alistair Hargreaves and John Smit.

Meanwhile, Cardiff Blues boss Phil Davies makes a number of changes to the side that beat Sale Sharks in the Heineken Cup last Saturday.

Owen Williams moves to the wing meaning there is a new centre partnership of Gavin Evans and Dafydd Hewitt as Jason Tovey comes in at full-back.

Harry Robinson remains on the other wing however there is a new half-back partnership with Ceri Sweeney linking up with Lewis Jones.

There is almost an entirely new pack; with Sam Hobbs the only player from the starting line up from last Saturday's match.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Adam Powell, 11 James Short, 10 Nils Mordt (c), 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Tom Jubb, 7 Nick Fenton-Wells, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Eoin Sheriff, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Jamie George, 1 Nick Auterac.

Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Darren Fearn, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Ali Price, 22 Sam Stanley, 23 Jack Wilson.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Owen Williams, 13 Gavin Evans (c), 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Rory Watts-Jones, 6 Luke Hamilton, 5 Macauley Cook, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Beniot Bourrust, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs.

Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Alex Walker, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Tom Williams.

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