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By Seany_boy
March 21 2018

after two weeks off for Saracens the six nations ended in a disastrous way for England, ending up in 5th only ahead of Italy (who hasVEex Quins director of Rugby Conor O'Shea at the helm). The less said about that the better, unless of course you are from Ireland, the emerald isle have lifted their 3rd ever grand Slam, so congratulations on that achievement.

Onto Saturday then, and the Aviva Premiership returns for what is often described as 'the business end' of the season, many places in play offs and European competitions up for grabs. Five rounds remaining and the pick of the games this weekend (which is also being shown live on channel 5 for those of you who cannot attend and do not have access to BT sport) has to be the Derby Day fixture between Saracens and Harlequins. Until last season this fixture has always been at Wembley stadium, it has moved now to the East end of London and the purpose  built Olympic Stadium now home of West Ham Utd. In the 6 years it was played at Wembley, Harlequins only took one victory in 2012. The last 3 fixtures have gone to the hosts, 42 - 15 on 2015, 22-12 in 2016 and last season the double European Champions took the spoils 40-19. Saracens are coming off a bad run of results recently and will be looking to find a win this weekend to bring the confidence back to the Squad.
Harlequins themselves have had a mixed season, and their last 5 results are not great reading, losses to Sale (30 - 29) Wasps (22 - 44) Leicester Tigers (30 - 18) and Newcastle Falcons ( 10 - 28) and a victory over Bath at the Stoop 20 - 5 sees Harlequins sitting in 9th in the premiership, 10 points adrift of Gloucester in 6th. With their internationals returning including Danny Care, Mike Brown, Kyle Sinckler and Chris Robshaw, they will be looking to add to the victory over Bath and make their record against Saracens in big stadiums look better,  hopefully kick start their end of season run in and complete their quest for a top 6 finish. After this week, Quins have a run in which looks like this: London Irish (h) round 19, Gloucester (a) round 20, Worcester Warriors (a) round 21 and current premiership champions Exeter Chiefs (h) round 22. Considering their recent form that is an exceptionally tough run in, however Harlequins do have the ability and flair to beat anyone on their day so still plenty to play for. Last time out Harlequins claimed victory over Bath 20 - 5 at the Stoop. Kyle Sinckler and Tim Visser scored but Quins failed to claim a bonus point win in this hard fought victory, a mention also to Demetri Catrakilis, who started his second premiership game after a sickening injury to his throat. Also whilst on then subject of Injuries, some sad news from the Harlequins camp that Winston Stanley has been forced to retire, best wishes to both Winston and his family for the future. 
Quins do have many returning Internationals for this Derby Day fixture: a potential Harlequins side could be:
Brown, Walker, Marchent, Roberts, Visser, Smith, Care, Luamana, Robshaw, J Chisholm, Horwill ©, Merrick, Sinckler, Ward, Marler
Gray, Boyce, Collier, Matthews, Wallace, Lewis, Catrakilis, Alofa.
Saracens are looking to find some bouncebackability after two defeats to potential title rivals Leicester Tigers (20 - 28) and Exeter Cheifs (24 - 12)
Saracens have been depleted recently by both Injuries and Internationals. The timely return of the England boys and Sean Maitland and Liam Williams (who both scored on the final weekend of the Six Nations) is great for the men in black. Their injury list is still quite large and players on it include Billy Vunipola, Schalk Burger, Mike Rhodes and Calum Clarke plus Taylor and Vuinala. 
Last time out a Saracens 'storm' side traveled down to Exeter and although ending up losing and failed to nab that losing bonus point, the team should be proud as it was an excellent performance especially by young Ben Earl who scored and his Captaincy of the England U20s shows he has a very bright future. 
Sarries sit 3rd currently in the table and after the Derby Day fixture their run in looks like this: Northampton Saints (a) round 19, Bath (h) round 20, London Irish (a) round 21 and Gloucester (h) round 22.
With returning Internationals and people hopefully becoming available from recent Injuries and 2 home games, plus a trip to lowly Saints and relagation favourites London Irish, Saracens should be looking for 4 wins from 4 to finish strong and cement their top 2 finish and grab a home Semi final for the play offs. Of course Saracens have a very large distraction band: they travel to Ireland next week to face an in form Leinster side to keep their hopes of a tremendous European treble alive. So they will be under pressure
Saracens side potentially to face Harlequins:
Goode, Williams, Bosch, Barritt, Wyles, Farrell, Wigglesworth, Wray, Earl, Isiekwe, Kruis, Day, Figallo, George, Barrington
Brits, M Vunipola, Lamisotele, Itoje, Cowan, Spencer, Lozowski, Maitland
Potentially could rest Maro and Mako completely but being in front of 60,000 then they would be ones to watch.
So in 2012 the crowd saw an exceptional performance from Team GBs athletes (Jess Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford) all bringing home gold on super Saturday, potentially Saracens could have a super Saturday this weekend and claim a win over London rivals Harlequins
Match officials:
Referee: Tom Foley (51st premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe and Jonathan Healy
TMO Graham Hughes
Citing Officer : Shaun Gallagher
Match prediction, a back lash required for Saracens and their English players Saracens to win by 22 points

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21/03/2018 13:05
Thanks Sean. Lovely to have some "proper" rugby to look forward to this weekend
I hope the "lowly Saints" don't come back to bite us!!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018:03:28:19:42:19 by Darraghgirl.

Darraghgirl (IP Logged)
21/03/2018 13:08
Any offers top do a match report please?????

Seany_Boy0511 (IP Logged)
21/03/2018 16:03
For some reason I've called Marler a market, silly predictive text, no offense meant!

Darraghgirl (IP Logged)
21/03/2018 16:07
Oops! all changed!

GazzaFez (IP Logged)
23/03/2018 11:11
Good write up!

F-F-F-FEZ (IP Logged)
23/03/2018 19:27
Worth mentioning a certain Andy Farrell also on the Men in Green's payroll.
I can only imagine the conversation over the Farrell breakfast table the next morning.................

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