TEAM NEWS | Saracens Men v Ealing Trailfinders
Vincent Koch insists it’s an incredible honour to reach 100 appearances for Saracens as the prop prepares to reach his century on Sunday.
The World Cup winner’s landmark falls nicely on the second leg of the Greene King IPA Championship play-off final with Sarries boasting a healthy 60-point advantage.
Director of Rugby Mark McCall has named an unchanged starting line-up for the final game of the season at StoneX Stadium, the Men in Black knowing another victory will confirm their place back in the Gallagher Premiership.
A front-row of Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Koch will be aiming for more of the same after an impressive scrummaging display at Trailfinders Sports Club, with Maro Itoje and Tim Swinson in the second-row.
The back-row remains the same with Michael Rhodes set to make his 107th and final appearance for Saracens, bringing to an end a seven-year stay in north London.
Aled Davies and Owen Farrell continue as half-backs, with the skipper now the top point scorer in the league – 18 points last week taking his tally up to 91 in just six appearances.
Nick Tompkins and Elliot Daly are in the midfield, with the back three of Sean Maitland, Alex Lewington and Alex Goode looking to finish the season in style.
Andy Christie and Manu Vunipola are two new faces among the replacements, while Tom Whiteley will be looking to sign off his time as a Saracen with an impact from the bench.
Springbok Koch has spoken of his pride at becoming the 13th member of the current squad to reach 100 appearances for Saracens.
“It’s a massive honour and I’m very humbled by it. This club has been on an unbelievable journey and it’s a dream come true to make 100 appearances,” he said.
“From day one the coaches have looked after me and it’s an honour to play with such world class players week in, week out. The way the club has looked after my family is amazing, it is truly special to be part of this club both on and off the field.”
He is also adamant the group are determined to finished the season with another strong display for the 2,000 fans in attendance.
“This game is a massive opportunity for us and we know that the job is not done yet. It was a great performance last week but with a few guys leaving and a chance to finish the season in front of our supporters, we’re ready to go again with a job to do.”
Saracens Men team to play Ealing Trailfinders:
15 Alex Goode
14 Alex Lewington
13 Elliot Daly
12 Nick Tompkins
11 Sean Maitland
10 Owen Farrell (c)
9 Aled Davies
1 Mako Vunipola
2 Jamie George
3 Vincent Koch
4 Maro Itoje
5 Tim Swinson
6 Michael Rhodes
7 Jackson Wray
8 Billy Vunipola
16 Tom Woolstencroft
17 Ralph Adams-Hale
18 Alec Clarey
19 Callum Hunter-Hill
20 Andy Christie
21 Tom Whiteley
22 Manu Vunipola
23 Duncan Taylor