By Behind the Bench
March 23 2017

Selection conundrums abound aplenty for Saracens as they balance the need to cement a top-two Premiership spot with the European Quarter Final a week later. For Bath, slightly conflicting priorities, as their fourth place looks increasingly vulnerable to the resurgent pair of Leicester and Northampton, although these sides face each other, so one will fall behind, underlining the importance of this match to Bath.

As pointed out earlier, the perhaps unexpected semi-final loss in the Anglo Welsh Cup has given the Saracens squad players a week's break which might tip the balance in their favour in terms of this match, with some or all of the internationals held back for the clash with the Warriors, hoping to avoid the backlash from a side heavily formed of the Scottish side humiliated at Twickenham. After some disappointing league games, Saracens rediscovered their attacking prowess as they went close to a bonus point in the home win over Sale Sharks before managing it in the away win at Newcastle Falcons
Ironically, Bath's modest run of Premiership form dates from the aftermath of their gritty 14-11 home win over Saracens in early December, as Christmas Eve brought a 40-26 loss at Wasps, losing out at home on New Year's Eve in a pivotal 17-11 Rec defeat to Exeter Chiefs which saw Semasa Rokoduguni make 166 of 633 Bath's metres. The first game saw another narrow loss at the Somerset side were beaten 24-22 at Newcastle Falcons. February brought a return to form as they edged past Northampton Saints 32-30 and Harlequins 22-12, both at the Rec, but their two most recent games brought a single point loss in the derby at Bristol before a 24-3 home defeat to Wasps. The Bristol game in particular saw them make a substantial amount of ground through Tom Homer and Semasa Rokoduguni, and achieve a high tackle success rate, but lacking a clinical finishing edge as their failure to force victory in a tight game struck again. 
So, in the context of this match, Saracens will in particular need to hold their shape in the face of multiple phases, waiting for Bath to make a mistake, as given the dominance they appear to have had in some of the games, their returns seem modest, although their scrum and lineout have remained relatively solid. Possible line up for Saracens is Sean Maitland at full back, with Chris Ashton and Chris Wyles on the wings, alongside Marcelo Bosch and Brad Barritt in the centres, with Alex Lozowski alongside Richard Wigglesworth in the half backs. Into the pack, and Mako Vunipola should form the front row with Schalk Brits and Juan Figallo, with Maro Itoje and Jim Hamilton in the second row, and a back row of Michael Rhodes, Schalk Burger and Jackson Wray. Bath should have Tom Homer at full back, with Rokiduguni on the right and Anthony Watson on the left, outside the centres of Jonathan Joseph and Ben Tapuai and a half back duo of George Ford and Chris Cook. Forwards-wise, Nathan Catt, Ross Batty and Max Lahiff are the likely front row, with Luke Charteris and Dave Attwood teaming up at lock and a back row trio of David Denton, Francois Louw and Taulupe Faletau. 

pqs: qs:
Posted by: (IP Logged)
Date: 23/03/2017 09:38

Thanks Gerard

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2017:04:02:21:44:31 by sutton_sarrie.

Posted by: Highbury Saracen (IP Logged)
Date: 23/03/2017 13:05

Cheers for that
I would expect Jamie & Billy to start as Schalk
has played a few this season as has Jackson!

European champions 2016 & 2017

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