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Saracens

  • Strettle, Wigglesworth, Ashton, Burger, Taylor (2), George, Vunipola, Ransom,
    Penalty goals: Farrell,
    Conversions: Farrell (8),
64 - 3

Zebre


  • Penalty goals: Orquera,

Heineken Cup Pool 3: Saracens v Zebre match preview

Last updated: 13th December 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Ulster v Aironi Roberto Quartaroli tackled by Darren Cave

Roberto Quartaroli: Comes in at thirteen for the Italian side

Owen Farrell

Owen Farrell: Returns at fly-half for Saracens' home fixture against Zebre

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Saracens will be aiming to complete the double over Zebre when they play their first Heineken Cup game at their new home, Allianz Park.

The Aviva Premiership side defeated the Italians 39-10 in Parma last weekend and their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals were given a double boost after Connacht's shock 16-14 triumph against Toulouse.

Mark McCall's men will now be looking to take the outright lead in Pool 3 at their brand new 10,000 capacity stadium in north London.

Owen Farrell returns at fly-half for the home team, starting his first game in their number ten shirt since returning from international duty. He is partnered by 30-year-old scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth.

Duncan Taylor and Marcelo Bosch partner each other at centre, wearing the twelve and thirteen jerseys respectively whilst Alex Goode, Chris Ashton and David Strettle make up the back three.

In the pack, Richard Barrington and James Johnston continue as props and are joined by Jamie George in the front-row, with Schalk Brits moving to a bench that includes Mako Vunipola.

Try scorer for a second successive game last weekend George Kruis partners captain Steve Borthwick at lock.

Jacques Burger returns to the fray, with Jackson Wray coming into the side at blindside flanker as Billy Vunipola replaces last week's man of the match Ernst Joubert at number eight.

"If you look at the Zebre squad who we faced last week, in the likes of Marco Bortolami, Quintin Geldenhuys, Mauro Bergamasco, Salvatore Perugini and the familiar face of Kameli Ratuvou, they have players who have vast experience on the domestic and international stage. So we can expect a very competitive match," said McCall.

Ready for battle

Meanwhile, centre Duncan Taylor told the club's official website that Zebre will be looking to claim a scalp following their defeat last time out.

"They've got some good players to return to their starting XV this weekend, and along with the players that we came up against last Saturday in Parma, we know that we'll be in for battle this weekend.

"It was a great performance by the boys over in Parma - in that opening 35 minutes we played some great stuff and towards the end of the game we looked to get stronger. We understand that in the Heineken Cup there are no easy games, so we're fully prepared."

Zebre will be eager to improve on last week's loss with Roberto Quartaroli coming in at thirteen as Kameli Ratuvou moves to twelve in place of Gonzalo Garcia. Luciano Orquera and Brendon Leonard form a new half-back combination.

Andrea Manici has been handed a start at hooker.

Saracens: 15 Goode, 14 Ashton, 13 Bosch, 12 Taylor, 11 Strettle, 10 Farrell, 9 Wigglesworth; 1 Barrington, 2 George, 3 Johnston, 4 Borthwick (c), 5 Kruis, 6 Wray, 7 Burger, 8 Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Brits, 17 Vunipola, 18 Stevens, 19 Hargreaves, 20 Joubert, 21 de Kock, 22 Hodgson, 23 Ransom.

Zebre: 15 Palazzani, 14 Sarto, 13 Quartaroli, 12 Ratuvou, 11 Venditti, 10 Orquera, 9 Leonard; 1 Aguero, 2 Manici, 3 Leibson, 4 Geldenhuys, 5 Bortolami (c), 6 Bergamasco, 7 Cattina, 8 Vunisa.

Replacements: 16 Giazzon, 17 de Marchi, 18 Chistolini, 19 Van Vuren, 20 Caffini, 21 Chillon, 22 Iannone, 23 Toniolatti.

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European Rugby Champions Cup Table

European Rugby Champions Cup Table - January 19 2014
Pos Team P Pts
4 Zebre 6 0
Forthcoming European Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
TimeFixture
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 17th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Harlequins vs Castres
Saturday 18th October
13:00Sale vs Munster
15:15Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Leicester vs Ulster
15:15Glasgow vs Bath
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton
Sunday 19th October
17:15Leinster vs Wasps
15:15Toulon vs Scarlets
13:00Toulouse vs Montpellier
13:00Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 24th October
19:45Munster vs Saracens
Saturday 25th October
13:00Ulster vs Toulon
19:45Scarlets vs Leicester
15:15Bath vs Toulouse
17:15Montpellier vs Glasgow
17:15Northampton vs Ospreys
Sunday 26th October
13:00Clermont Auvergne vs Sale
15:00Castres vs Leinster
17:15Wasps vs Harlequins
17:15Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92
Saturday 6th December
TBCMunster vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCSale vs Saracens
TBCCastres vs Wasps
TBCHarlequins vs Leinster
TBCUlster vs Scarlets

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