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Preview: Newcastle Falcons v Saracens

Preview: Newcastle Falcons v Saracens

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall insists complacency is not an option when they head to Kingston Park on Sunday for their Aviva Premiership Rugby clash with Newcastle Falcons.

Saracens continue to set the pace at the top of the Aviva Premiership rugby table with a perfect played five, won five record.

Newcastle have won only one of their last 14 Premiership Rugby fixtures – 37-21 at home to Harlequins on 16th May – but did claim their first points of the season last time out in a 15-15 draw with Sale Sharks.

Saracens – who have won the last dozen encounters between the two clubs in all tournaments since Newcastle were victorious in the league in 2009 – have made a number of changes.

Jamie George, who this week signed a new long-term deal at the club, will skipper Sarries alongside Richard Barrington (loosehead prop) and Juan Figallo (tighthead prop) in the front row. George Kruis and Maro Itoje will partner each other in the second row.

Will Fraser returns to the side at openside flanker, with Samuela Vunisa set to make his full Saracens debut from No.8 – Jackson Wray continues at blindside flanker.

At half-back, Ben Spencer will make his fourth Aviva Premiership Rugby start of the season at scrum-half after a fine display against Worcester Warriors in the London Double Header, and will partner Charlie Hodgson in the halves.

At centre, Scotland international Duncan Taylor will wear the No.12 jersey with Nick Tompkins named at outside centre.

In the back-three, England international Alex Goode returns to the side and will link-up with Chris Wyles and Mike Ellery.

Mark McCall said: "We are well aware of the task that faces us on Sunday afternoon. The Falcons ran us very close in our last meeting at Kingston Park, and we are expecting another tough game this weekend.

"We are on a good a run, but that will mean very little if we don't turn up on Sunday with the right approach. Dean Richards has put together a very strong squad at Newcastle who are traditionally very strong at home. It will be a real test for us.”

Saracens have won on their last five visits to Kingston Park with the Falcons recording a losing bonus point in each instance.

And the Falcons have named a side showing two changes from the Aviva Premiership Rugby round five draw at Sale.

Both changes come in the backline as Belisario Agulla and Tom Catterick come in for Giamba Venditti and Mike Delany respectively.

Adam Powell lines up at outside centre for the Falcons and the former Sarries man is adamant his side can cause an upset.

He said: “Saracens have a team full of internationals and they are very good, but there are areas we can pick on. They are class and we have to lift our game.”

(Kingston Park, 3pm)

Referee: Andrew Small (120th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Andy Watson. TMO: David Grashoff.

Live on BT Sport

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