FOR ALL THE SAINTS! LONDON DOUBLE HEADER PREVIEW


By Seany_boy
August 30 2017

Here we go... After the excitement of last season, an epic Champions Cup final victory and a tough semi final defeat at Exeter, the 2017/18 domestic season begins this Saturday 2nd September!  

Since 2004 Saracens have been ever present at the annual curtain raiser, the London Double Header at Twickenham. The original teams were Harlequins, London Irish, Wasps and Saracens, the 'big 4 London Clubs' (at the time) Since 2015 Wasps have dropped out and due to relaxation London Irish and Quins have had other teams take their place. In recent years it's been the likes of Worcester and Bristol. This season the 4 teams are Harlequins, London Irish, Saracens and Northampton Saints.
 
Some people think it should be renamed, others think it should be scrapped altogether and some think it's just a money making exercise, what ever your thoughts it's happening and this season Saracens are up against one of their favourite rivals, Northampton Saints. 
 
Over the years Saracens and Saints have had some classic encounters, some shock results and some debatable decisions, the most memorable game in recent years is probably the 2014 final which was decided by "That" try in the dying moments of extra time and giving Saints a well deserved first premiership title. Also this season Saracens and Saints have been drawn in the same Champions Cup pool so this will be the first chance to see both teams in action, who knows they may even be able to be friends at the end of this season!! 
 
Both teams come into Saturdays game after a great pre season, and will both be full of confidence, Saints recently beat Ulster in a pre season game at Franklins Gardens 55 - 15. Saints scored nine tries and in reply Ulster only managed two. Ben Foden and Kieran Brookes were finding early form both scoring in the first half and only a try from Charles Pilatau stopped  a perfect first half  for Saints  who led 12 - 5. In the second half however Saints exploded into life and in fine fashion, scoring a further seven tries from all angles. Braces from Tom Collins, Alex Mitchell and Michael Paterson and one more try by James Grayson will give Saints confidence coming into the seasons opener this week end. Many of those who scored could well feature at HQ. Saints have had a busy summer losing 12 players including Calum Clark (Saracens), Lee Dickson (Bedford Blues) and the influential Louis Picamoles (Montpellier). However they have recruited well so far with a substantial amount of Super Rugby talent joining including Francois Van Wyk, Piers Francis and Rob Horne. Saints will be looking to improve on last season and their intent is clear, they will be aiming for a top 4 finish this season as a bare minimum, underestimate Saints at your peril. 
A possible Saints line up could be:
 
Waller, Hartley ©, Brookes, Lawes, Day, Harrison, Ludlam, Eadie, Groom, Francis, Collins, Mallinder, Hutchinson, Foden, Tuala
 
Replacements:
Haywood, Ford-Robinson, Hill, Ribbans, Wood, Grayson, Mitchell, North
 
As for Saracens, they too have had a reasonable season with brilliant victories over Bedford Blues and their Romanian cousins Timisoara Saracens. As current reigning European Champions their biggest challenge will be on Saturday and it will be the first time they are truly tested. Sean Maitland has been returning to full fitness featured in pre season with the likes of new boys Tolofua and Clark, other people to feature are academy lads, Mallins, Gallagher, and Isiekwe. Also during the past couple of weeks Will Fraser had to unfortunately retire due to injury and only at the young age of 27. This could leave a spot open for Joel Conlon and Calum Clark to feature with Saracens rotation policy being used again this season. On top of the retirement of Will Fraser Saracens have lost 12 players also. The biggest loss will be Ex Northampton Saints player Chris Ashton. However Saracens have lost experience with Petrus du Plessis going to London Irish (Hopefully he features v Harlequins) and the old heads of Neil de Kock and Jim Hamilton retiring among others. That said Saracens have also recruited well with lion Liam Williams joining and also Will Skelton, Calum Clark and Tolofua. Saracens have added more strength in depth and are obviously looking to take the Premiership title once again this season.
 
So a potential Saracens line up,with limited word on how many lions will feature and with injury to Billy Vunipola the team could be
 
Barrington, Brits, Figallo, Dom Day, Kruis, Clark, Burger, Wray, Wigglesworth, Lozowski, Wyles, Barritt ©, Taylor, Maitland, Goode
 
Replacements
Tolofua, Thompson-Stringer, Koch, Isiekwe, Conlon, Spencer, Bosch, Earle
 
Officials: 
Referee: Craig Maxwell Keys (35th Premiership game)
Assistant Refs: Jake Makepeace , Roy Maybank
TMO: Geoff Warren
 
Prediction: Saracens win by 6 points

pqs: qs:
FOR ALL THE SAINTS! LONDON DOUBLE HEADER PREVIEW
Posted by: TheSaracens.com (IP Logged)
Date: 30/08/2017 15:38

Thanks Sean for an excellent debut preview.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2017:09:10:07:45:55 by Darraghgirl.

Re: FOR ALL THE SAINTS! LONDON DOUBLE HEADER PREVIEW
Posted by: Squawker2 (IP Logged)
Date: 30/08/2017 16:10

Congrats and thanks Sean - I definitely have a plan to follow suit at least the once this season!

-----------------------------------------------------

Stuart Barnes is a Cock Womble

Re: FOR ALL THE SAINTS! LONDON DOUBLE HEADER PREVIEW
Posted by: TonyTaff (IP Logged)
Date: 01/09/2017 13:41

Nice one, Sean.

£630.67 (*) donated to the Saracens Foundation due to visits to the Sarries frontpage [www.rugbynetwork.net]

Please read and submit articles for publication. (*) As at October 31, 2016.

Re: FOR ALL THE SAINTS! LONDON DOUBLE HEADER PREVIEW
Posted by: JO'G (IP Logged)
Date: 02/09/2017 03:12

great preview - lets hope the match report is as good

Park team from London
Just a park team from London
European Champions
Just European champions

Re: FOR ALL THE SAINTS! LONDON DOUBLE HEADER PREVIEW
Posted by: King Zak (IP Logged)
Date: 02/09/2017 17:46

Quote:
JO'G
great preview - lets hope the match report is as good

Where to start, Jeremy!

Nous sommes l'armée noir et rouge !

Re: FOR ALL THE SAINTS! LONDON DOUBLE HEADER PREVIEW
Posted by: JO'G (IP Logged)
Date: 03/09/2017 15:31

on unofish now

Park team from London
Just a park team from London
European Champions
Just European champions

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