Mar 27, 2015
Saracens vs Harlequins - Preview
Saracens take on London rivals Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership this Saturday at Wembley Stadium.
Saracens are coming off the back of a triumphant LV= Cup final win. Ben Spencer knocked over a penalty with the last kick of the game to defeat Exeter Chiefs 23-20 at Franklin’s Gardens.
Saracens will be looking to take their recent form into derby day at Wembley on Saturday.
The men in black have won their last four games on the trot and a win for Saracens could see them move up to second place in the Aviva Premiership.
Harlequins ended a five match losing streak when they defeated London Irish at the Stoop on the 7th March.
Harlequins have lost their last three away games but have not lost four in a row on their travels since February 2012.
Quins only victory in their last thirteen fixtures in all competitions against Saracens came at Wembley Stadium three years ago. ‘Quins two other visits to Wembley, in 2010 and 2014, have both ended in defeat.
Quins are currently lying eighth in the table and will welcome the return of their England interntionals on Saturday.
"Not all of our England guys have played that much – George [Kruis] didn’t play in the last two games, Mako [Vunipola] and Wiggy [Richard Wigglesworth] didn’t get many minutes during the Six Nations,” McCall said. “Billy is the one we will just be a bit careful with over the next period of time, but he will be involved.
“We have got Racing Métro next week, which we also have to prepare for but Billy has played five games in eight weeks and some of our players have played a little bit more than that, albeit at a slightly different level.
“Last year they had a big European quarter-final and Conor made that decision but I don’t think they have got a match the week after the Wembley game this year so I am sure he will play them all.
"It is great for both sets of players to be involved in an occasion like this, especially on the back of the Six Nations,” he said. “For the international players it would be more difficult to go somewhere else and play again after what happened last weekend. But to go to Wembley, with maybe up to 90,000 people there, will be exciting for everyone," concluded Mark McCall.
"Billy and I have been in company with each over the last eight weeks, side by side, and are about to go head-to-head,” Chris Robshaw said. “It is straight back to club business.”
Quins second row George Robson cited winning the game at Wembley as a season objective: "We want to put in a good performance as we've got our goals for this season and winning this game in front of a huge crowd is definitely one of them.
"We need to make sure we are playing at our best though to challenge Saracens because they are a great team with a lot of really great players.
Robson added: "I'm sure they will be on a high from winning the LV= Cup but we will have an extra incentive to gain revenge for the Wembley game last year."
Stat Attack (Aviva Premiership)
Alex Goode – 915
Marland Yarde – 873
Ben Ransom – 688
Jamie George – 162
Charlie Matthews – 116
Saracens – 48
Harlequins – 32
Men to Watch
The big no8 will be back in Saracens colours for the huge derby day clash. Vunipola has been in excellent form for England during the Six Nations, with many critics citing the big ball carrier as their standout player for the red rose. Billy will be looking to continue his string of impressive performances against Quins.
A key battle on Saturday will be Robshaw against Vunipola. The England teammates are now on opposite sides and Robshaw will be key to Quins’ hopes at Wembley.