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  • Aviva Premiership
  • Semi Final
  • 12th May 2013
  • KO 15:00
  • Ground: Allianz Park
  • Att: 9,998

Aviva Premiership match preview: Saracens v Northampton Saints

Last updated: 12th May 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

James Wilson Northampton 2013

James Wilson: starts at outside centre for Northampton Saints

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

Alex Goode: England full-back returns to the Saracens starting XV

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Saracens have made two changes to their starting line-up for Sunday's Aviva Premiership semi-final encounter against Northampton Saints at Allianz Park.

The hosts welcome back Alex Goode at full-back, with Chris Wyles reduced to the bench as they look to reach a second Premiership final in three years.

Director of rugby Mark McCall's only other change in his starting XV is the return of Will Fraser at openside flanker in place of Andy Saull, who featured in last weekend's 23-14 victory against Bath.

Chris Ashton retains his place on the right wing having scored against Bath and McCall will look the England international once again this weekend.

Owen Farrell will continue at inside centre after scoring 13 points last time out as Saracens sealed top spot in the Premiership standings.

Wilson chance

Meanwhile Jim Mallinder names just one change to the Saints side beaten 22-19 by Harlequins last weekend.

James Wilson has been promoted from the bench to replace George Pisi at outside centre in the starting XV.

Wilson's inclusion paves the way for Tom May to feature on Saints' bench.

Victory for Northampton would see them book a place in the Premiership final for only the second time.

Saracens have been victorious in the last three meetings between the two sides with the closest encounter coming in December 2012 with the Saints missing out 17-16 at the Allianz Park.

Saracens 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 George Kruis, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Chris Wyles

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 James Wilson, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May

What they said...

Saracens head coach Mark McCall

"Both teams know each other well, but both teams also have players who can turn a match in an instant from any part of the pitch and in any position.

"I am sure it will be a fiercely contested encounter and one that we are very much looking forward to."

Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley

"The only thing that counts is the next performance and the next result, which for us means getting a win on Sunday afternoon against a good Saracens team.

"They've got quality players in every position and you don't finish top of the table by accident or by fluke, they've won more games than anyone else and haven't lost at Allianz Park."

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15:00Exeter vs London Welsh
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19:45Northampton vs Wasps

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Phil Edwards

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