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Preview: Saracens v London Irish

Preview: Saracens v London Irish

London Irish may be the underdogs this weekend but it was only two years ago that they came away from Allianz Park with Saracens’ scalp.

The Exiles are one of just three Aviva Premiership Rugby sides to have beaten Saracens at the ground – and lock Jebb Sinclair says there is no substitute for hard work.

Without a win since Round 19 of last season, Irish are very much a work in progress under new boss Tom Coventry, whereas Saracens have been an established force for several years.

The reigning champions have won their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures, including a pair of victories to open up this campaign, but Sinclair insists it is not mission impossible for the Exiles.

“For the few of us who played in that win at Allianz Park [two seasons ago] we know that it can be done,” he said. “There was no magic formula that day, just hard work.

“Every away game is a tough trip, whether it is Saracens, up north to a windy Newcastle or down in Exeter like last week.

“This week we have been working a lot on our game rather than looking at Saracens too much, we need to focus on what we can do and if we get that right we will be in the game.

“In every position Sarries have two or three international-class players so we know that whoever takes the field will be quality. But we cannot worry too much about that.

“They have big ball carriers that like to come around the corner, they are confrontational and we have got to match them.”

The return fixture between the two sides in March will take on an extra special twist after London Irish announced Aviva Premiership Rugby’s first overseas fixture in New York City.

That clash will coincide with St Patrick’s Day and Saracens wing Nathan Earle – who is yet to make an appearance in Aviva Premiership Rugby – is hoping he can nail down a spot on the plane in the coming months.

“I would love to impress between now and March so that I can book my flight out to New York; I think all the lads looked at that and thought ‘a training week out in New York, let’s have it!’” said Earle.

“I think it is in an international week as well so hopefully a few of the boys will be away and I can try to get myself on that plane and get some more game time.

“The Premiership is getting better all the time and you can’t survive in this league unless you are growing and evolving, and London Irish have had new coaches in, new facilities and new players and I think this weekend’s game will be tough.

“I think they will be better this season because they have all the new infrastructure in place.

“I’m fully fit now and ready to go. I’m just waiting on my call-up.”
Saracens v London Irish (Allianz Park, 1pm)
Referee: Greg Garner (84th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell & Paul Dix. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

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