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By Darraghgirl
November 21 2019

  So it’s been quite a week but thoughts must now turn back to the rugby and to the visit of Ospreys for R2 of the European Champions Cup. Like Sarries, Ospreys were beaten last week except they were at home and their visitors were Munster. Like Racing, Munster opened with a 5-pointer and like Sarries, Ospreys came away empty handed.  Ospreys are in 3rd and Sarries in 4th courtesy of a 1 point “points difference” – 19 versus 20. I suspect our European future probably hangs on this one. A good win and it stays in the forward plan, defeat and we write it off.

Ospreys haven’t had a great season so far in the Pro 12, winning just 1 of their 6 games so far which has left them in 6th place in Conference A with only Zebre below them. Injuries and International call ups have robbed them of several of their stars, notably Gareth Anscombe & George North (injury) Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones, Nicky Smith, Adam Beard, Aled Davies and Owen Watkin (World Cup).

Following the departure of Steve Tandy last year, former forwards’ coach Allen Clarke took over as interim head coach before being confirmed in the role a few months later.

Sarries of course came up against Ospreys in the 2017-18 season where the teams fought out 2 extremely close games. Sarries just came out on top in a tryfest at Allianz 36-34; the return game at The Liberty Stadium finished 15-15. Sarries just sneaked in to the quarter finals in 8th after a huge win over Northampton Saints in R6 and a big helping hand from Wasps who beat Ulster.

Ospreys may be tempted to reintroduce some of their world cup stars. Nicky Smith and Aled Davies were on the bench last week and could well start on Saturday along with old hand Dan Lydiate. Another old warrior, James Hook, has also been lurking on the bench this season!

So Ospreys may look something like:

Evans, Dirksen, Thomas-Wheeler, S Williams, T Williams, Price, A Davies, Smith, Otten, Botha, Beard, B Davies, Lydiate, Cracknell, Morris,

The team Sarries field will tell us a lot about their priorities for this season. Personally I doubt if we will see any of our England Internationals apart from Spencer and Singleton. Having only returned to training on Wednesday,  I suspect they will be held back for another day. The coaches may well feel that the team which were, to be honest, a bit out of their depth in Paris against Racing, should hold their own in Barnet against Ospreys. Rumour has it that Brad may be back – he appeared on the Heineken prematch video (although Centre is one area where we have relative riches) and possibly Max Malins. Mike Rhodes, having said a few weeks ago he was hoping to play “next week” sadly seems to be as far away as ever! Maitland & Titi have played a lot so may get a rest this week? I would also start Kpoku over Hunter-Hill – I thought when he came on last week things looked a bit better. Willemse and Koch both took heavy knocks in France so may struggle to be fit. I hope Jack Singleton has spent the entire week practicing the line-out – maybe Jamie George has been giving him a few tips? He played pretty well in Paris apart from his throwing and that proved very costly. If you can’t win your lineouts, you won’t win the match! Carre also looked pretty useful. The prop department is a worry at the moment so the coaches will be praying for no more injuries.

So we may see something like:-

Gallagher, Lewington, Lozowski, Tompkins, Segun, Vunipola, Spencer; Carre, Singleton, Koch,  Kpoku, Skelton, Isiekwe, Earl, Wray   (but I could be very wrong! )        

Mathieu Raynal has the whistle along with his French assistants. It should be a good game. Hopefully the weather will play ball and there will be a big crowd at Allianz to support the team. TOGETHER SARACENS!

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Discussion started by , 21/11/2019 19:07
21/11/2019 19:07
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:11:28:20:32:40 by Darraghgirl.

22/11/2019 07:18
Dear Santa, could we have an early present of James Hook making a tool of himself showing off again please?

22/11/2019 18:22
Dear Santa, could we have an early present of James Hook making a tool of himself showing off again please?

Lol people have such long memories. Cruel!

I was 17 miles from Graybridge before I was caught by the school leopard

23/11/2019 12:59
Still laugh when I recall that one !

23/11/2019 14:53
(Sm15) Still laugh when I recall that one !

I thought Hook was dead!

Turns out he just plays that way. Another candidate for the Albanese Award?

721.05 (*) donated to the Saracens Foundation due to visits to the Sarries frontpage []

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(*) As at October 31, 2018.

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