Saracens name team for Aviva Premiership opener
Saracens have named their side to face Sale Sharks on Saturday in round one of the Aviva Premiership at Allianz Park, kick-off 14h00.
The reigning Premiership Champions welcome back England quartet, Jamie George, Alex Goode, George Kruis and Mako Vunipola plus USA tighthead Titi Lamositele into their 23-man squad to face the Sharks.
Fresh from facing Urugauy in Manchester, hooker Jamie George will start alongside Rhys Gill (loosehead) and Petrus Du Plessis (tighthead) in the Saracens front row,
At lock, Maro Itoje will captain the side with Alistair Hargreaves just missing out as he recovers from an Achilles injury. Itoje will be partnered by Jim Hamilton in the second row.
Michael Rhodes will make his Aviva Premiership debut from blindside flanker. The summer signing from South African Super 15 side Stormers will be joined by Kelly Brown (openside flanker) and Jackson Wray in the back row.
At halfback, experienced scrum-half Neil de Kock starts alongside Charlie Hodgson who will be entering his 16th successive Premiership season.
In the midfield, Scottish centre Duncan Taylor will start at inside centre and he is joined by Tim Streather.
Alex Goode is Saracens second England returnee to start the game, and the 27-year old full-back is joined by Chris Ashton and Mike Ellery in the Saracens back three.
On the bench, England pair Mako Vunipola and George Kruis are named as replacements, with USA Eagles tighthead Titi Lamositele also named following Argentine Juan Figallo being called-up to Los Pumas quarter-final squad to face Ireland on Sunday. Back rower Will Fraser is also named as a substitute whilst England U20s centre Nick Tompkins also makes the matchday 23.
Speaking ahead of the game, director of rugby Mark McCall said: "Our England players have been superb throughout training this week. They've brought some real enthusiasm and energy to the group and it will be great to have them back out there this weekend. Having played Sale on four occasions last season we know how tough a side they are to face, and we are fully aware of the challenge ahead.”
Saracens team to face Sale Sharks:
15 Alex Goode
14 Chris Ashton
13 Tim Streather
12 Duncan Taylor
11 Mike Ellery
10 Charlie Hodgson
9 Neil de Kock
1 Rhys Gill
2 Jamie George
3 Petrus Du Plessis
4 Maro Itoje ©
5 Jim Hamilton
6 Michael Rhodes
7 Kelly Brown
8 Jackson Wray
16 Dave Porecki
17 Mako Vunipola
18 Titi Lamositele
19 George Kruis
20 Will Fraser
21 Ben Spencer
22 Nick Tompkins
23 Ben Ransom
Saracens will be screening Saturday's Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-final between South Africa and Wales in all bars at Allianz Park, with the game kicking off at 16h00.
To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby Season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem