TheSaracens.com
IRISH EYES
By Seany_boy
April 26 2018

Make or break time of the season now. This is it, the final push, the final few positions to be settled and potentially we will know the outcome of who is relegated and who sercures Semi final places. The past 9 months seem to have flown by.
Round 21, the penultimate round of the regular season sees a revitalised Saracens in tremendous form travel to Reading and face Relegation candidates London Irish at the Madjeski Stadium, on what could be a bit of a wet Sunday afternoon, let's hope it still is a pulsating fixture.
 
London Irish themselves have had what can only be described as a disastrous season, and one person who has been involved with London Irish for more than a decade is Nick Kennedy, who was director of Rugby until recently, Les Kiss has been appointed to try and save Irish and give them a miraculous survival in the premiership. Irish got off to a fabulous start on the opening weekend beating Harlequins at HQ 39 - 29 in what looked like it could be a decent season for the Exiles, however they were soon sent crashing down to earth and failed to win in the premiership again for 14 games and leaving them rock bottom and now favourites for relegation. On 25th February 2018 it looked like Irish's fortunes may be changing, they managed to beat their closest relegation rivals Worcester Warriors 22 - 9 in round 16. The following weekend however Irish could not continue their winning ways and lost out to Wasps at the Ricoh Arena 26-14 and just missed out on what would have been a vital Losing bonus point. London Irish narrowly lost to Gloucester at home 29 - 33 but this time they did manage to grab an important losing bonus point. This result seemed to spur the Exiles on when they faced Harlequins the following week, Irish were relentless and their dominance resulted in a tremendous league double over Harlequins, this time Irish won 35 - 5 and were confident going into the next fixture against the current champions Exeter Chiefs. Unfortunately Cheifs were far to strong and convincingly left Irish in 12th with 2 rounds to go after an enthatic 45 - 5 win. It's not all over for the Exiles yet though, because of certain results going their way they are mathematically still able to stay in the premiership, however they need 2 wins preferably with Bonus points and need the luck of the Irish to shine on them as Worcester will need to lose both games and get 0 points from their last two fixtures. It looks omnious for the Exiles as they have to face 2 time European Champions Saracens this weekend and Saracens have found form just at the right time. 
 
Last time Irish played Sarries in round 7 at Allianz park the men in black won comfortably 44 - 13. 
 
Alex Lewington, who is joining Saracens at the end of the season, is unavailable for selection as is Tommy Bell as both players are injured, however with the Likes of Joe Cokasiniga and Tom Fowlie and Tikoroituma the threat of tries is always there for Irish.
 
A potential Irish team could be:
Greig Tonks, Joe Cokasiniga, Fergus Mulchrone, Aseli Tikoroituma, Tom Fowlie, James Marshall, Piet Van Zyl, Ofisa Treviranus, Jake Schatz, Sentiki Nayalo, Sebastian De Chaves, Teofila Paulo, Ollie Hoskins, David Paice, Ben Franks
 
Replacements
Dave Porecki, Gordon Reid, Petrus Du Plessis, Marco Van Der Meter, Lasha Lomidze, Scott Steele, Theo Brophy-Clews, Ben Ransom
 
As for Saracens, they may have been knocked out of European Champions Cup by the favourites Leinster, but that has appeared to make them stronger, since losing a hard fought game in Ireland, Sarries have notched over 100 points in their previous two games with a total of 15 tries being scored, when they visited Franklins Gardens Saracens were in demolition mode, and after a close first half (15 - 13) they come out possessed in the second half and destroyed Saints with 48 unanswered points, winning the game 63 - 13. There was also 9 different scorers that day and their total points against saints in 4 games in 1 season was 237. Hitting saints for 50 plus points in each encounter. A tremendous effort.
Then two weeks ago Saracens played Bath at Allianz Park and again after a close first half, turned on the style and with breakaway tries for Liam Williams and Owen Farrell as well as Brits and Spencer going over Saracens secured another resounding bonus point victory 41 - 6. They will be looking to continue this momentum going into this weekends game with the knowledge if they win they will secure a home Semi final, Saracens are already guaranteed a Play off place. If the North London club do manage to claim the win it will also resign London Irish to the championship next season, so with one teams potential delighted comes another's disappointment, rugby can be cruel sometimes. 
 
Saracens Back Mike Rhodes made a timely return last week end and their is talk on the grapevine that  a certain Billy Vunipola may be available for selection this weekend as well. Along with Prop Vincent Koch. If that is the case then Saracens are getting their strongest players back to fitness at a crucial time. Blair Cowan who is on loan at Sarries from Irish has been back row Cover for the men in black. However it's uncertain whether he is eligible to play this weekend so it's unlikely he will feature. Mako Vunipola could be rested as well.
 
So with the above news on availability and the fact Saracens are looking to secure a home Semi final spot it is likely to be a very strong Saracens lineup which could looks like:
 
Alex Goode, Liam Williams, Alex Lozowski, Brad Barritt, Chris Wyles, Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth, Jackson Wray, Schalk Burger, Mike Rhodes, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Juan Figallo, Schalk Brits, Richard Barrington
 
Replacements
 
Jamie George, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Vincent Koch, George Kruis, Billy Vunipola, Ben Spencer, Marcelo Bosch, Duncan Taylor
 
Officials
Referee: Ian Tempest (45th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales and Phillip Watters
TMO: David Rose
citing Officer: Nick Wood
 
Prediction: if Sarries continue their dominance they will be far too superior for the Exiles and could be a huge victory Sarries by 27 points