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Rugby News

Preview | Tigers go to Saracens

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Leicester Tigers go to unbeaten Saracens in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership season this Saturday (3.00pm).

Hosts Saracens have taken maximum points from their two games so far, beating Harlequins and Gloucester after a free week in Round 1.

Tigers have also recorded two bonus-point wins, beating Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints in the last two rounds after an opening-day defeat at Exeter Chiefs.

In team news announced on Friday, Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick includes Anthony Watson for his debut, and gives a first start to fellow summer arrivals Phil Cokanasiga and Olly Cracknell, while Joe Heyes, Harry Wells and Eli Snyman return to the forward pack.

Looking ahead to Saturday and a first meeting of the teams since last season’s Gallagher Premiership Final, second-rower Wells said: “We obviously enjoyed the Final at the time but it is a new season now and you all have new challenges to tackle. Saracens have a star-studded team, they’ve been a special team for a long time.”

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has made two changes to the starting line-up following victory over Gloucester last weekend, with lock Callum Hunter-Hill and centre Nick Tompkins returning. Hunter-Hill partners Hugh Tizard who received his first call-up to the England squad this week.

On the bench, Marco Riccioni returns after 11 months out with a knee injury, and internationals Sean Maitland and Alex Goode both return to the matchday squad.

No8 Billy Vunipola said: “This season we have a new focus on ourselves and how we can get better. We want to be a team that can adapt to anything and we want to play what’s in front of us, which we’ll have to do against a strong Leicester side.”

Sarries lost just once at home in the Gallagher Premiership last season, by a single point against Gloucester in January, while Tigers have won just once at the venue in nine visits.

Tigers will be in the club’s change colours of red shirt and white shorts.

Referee is Mr Matthew Carley, in charge for the 124th time in Premiership rugby.

There is live coverage with BT Sport, or follow the updates on Matchday Live on the Tigers website and app, with full report and reaction afterwards.

Round 4 in full:

Friday: Newcastle Falcons v Bristol Bears (7.45pm)
Saturday: London Irish v Bath Rugby (3.00pm), Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs (3.00pm), Saracens v Leicester Tigers (3.00pm), Gloucester Rugby v Worcester Warriors OFF
Sunday: Harlequins v Northampton Saints (3.00pm)