Dec 04, 2015
Saracens vs Newcastle - match preview
A trip to the North East is always a challenging one for any Aviva Premiership side and this weekend the aim for Saracens is to head into the back to back European fixtures with their 100% Aviva Premiership record intact.
Last weekend’s trip to Twickenham Stadium was a positive one for Mark McCall’s side as they recorded their largest victory of the season. The result provided Ernst Joubert with the perfect retirement send off and highlighted the strength in depth housed within the squad.
On the road Dean Richards’ side picked up their first table points of the season with a 15-15 draw against the Sale Sharks. The North East outfit pressed on from their nine try European Challenge Cup victory and delivered a much improved performance to the previous domestic rounds.
Mark McCall is not underestimating the Newcastle Falcons in spite of two ides being at opposite ends of the Aviva Premiership table:
“We are well aware of the task that faces us on Sunday afternoon. The Falcons ran us very close in our last meeting at Kingston Park, and we are expecting another tough game this weekend.
“We are on a good a run, but that will mean very little if we don’t turn up on Sunday with the right approach. Dean Richards has put together a very strong squad at Newcastle who are traditionally very strong at home. It will be a real test for us.”
Dean Richards’ knows that this weekend’s fixture, even on home soil, will be a tough test for his side:
“Saracens will be a good challenge for the boys. We will look forward to this game purely because they are such a good team and you pit your wits against the best and they are the best at this moment in time.”
Ones to Watch – Falcons
Moutiz Botha is a man that Saracens’ players and fans know well after his influential time with the side. Mouritz always bring a huge amount of physicality to any game and will certainly relish the challenge of hosting his former club on the fast track at Kingston Park.
In the back row Nili Latu has been a purposeful member of the Falcons side since his return from the Rugby World Cup. Nili is a hard ball carrier with a great engine and is the man that sets the tone for others to follow.
The 2015/16 season is Rob Vickers’ tenth at the Newcastle Falcons. As a prop he has seen and done it all before and adds great experience to Dean Richards’ front row. The set piece will be a critical area for Newcastle to gain parity with Saracens in order to provide their backs with a platform to work off.
Ones to watch – Saracens
Last weekend Ben Spencer ignited the fixture with a stunning all around performance. After leading Saracens to victory in the LV=Cup competition last season Ben has waited patiently for his opportunity to start and will be looking to back up his strong Twickenham outing this weekend.
George Kruis is one of the Premiership’s form locks and is enjoying a first-class start to the domestic season. George’s development over the past year has sky rocketed and now with his European Champions Cup and International experience he runs Saracens’ line-out with proficiency and ease.
Tim Streather joined Saracens from Nottingham and always has an eye for a score. 32 tries in 69 games for his former side set the precedent and in the red and black of Saracens he has continued to deliver in earnest. Tim’s a powerful runner with an eye for a break and adds plenty of dynamism to Saracens’ back line.
- 94% – Saracens’ Jamie George has the (94% – 47/50) has the best lineout throw success in Premiership this season (min. 25 throws).
- 6 – years since the Newcastle Falcons were victorious over Saracens at Kingston Park with a 13 – 9 in the 2008/09 season.
- 10 – the number of victories in a row that Saracens have recorded in all competitions
- 2,504 – Charlie Hodgson’s current Aviva Premiership points tally – 1,032 more than the nearest active Aviva Premiership player Harlequins’ Nick Evans
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Michael Young, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Jon Welsh, 4 Sean Robinson, 5 Calum Green, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch, 8 Nili Latu
Replacements 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Sonatane Takulua 22 Craig Willis, 23 Chris Harris.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode; 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Chris Wyles; 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Jamie George ©, 3 Juan Figallo; 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis; 6 Jackson Wray, 7 Will Fraser, 8 Samuela Vunisa.
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Tim Streather, 23 Ben Ransom.