Owen Farrell is one of eight England internationals in Saracens’ starting XV

Heineken Champions Cup
Venue: Allianz Park Date: Sunday, 19 January Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and BBC Radio London and on the BBC Sport website

England captain Owen Farrell is one of several internationals returning to Saracens’ starting XV as they bid to reach the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Elliot Daly, Mako and Billy Vunipola, Jamie George and Maro Itoje all start against Racing 92 on Sunday as Saracens seek a bonus-point victory to all but guarantee a spot in the last eight.

The defending champions face Premiership relegation over salary cap breaches and will be disqualified from next season’s Champions Cup if they go down to the Championship.

Winning the Champions Cup usually guarantees qualification for the tournament the following year, but only Premiership, Pro 14 or Top 14 teams, as well as two clubs from emerging nations, can participate in European club rugby tournaments.

Nevertheless, Saracens head coach Mark McCall has named a strong side in a bid to reach the knockout stages, reinstating Farrell at fly-half.

Ben Spencer comes in at scrum-half, while former Wasps full-back Daly makes his 50th European appearance and is joined by wing Rotimi Segun in the back three.

Prop Mako Vunipola and hooker George are back in the front row and are joined in the pack by lock Itoje and number eight Billy Vunipola.

A win on Sunday will probably be enough for Saracens to qualify, while victory for Racing 92, who beat Sarries 30-10 in November and have already secured their place in the last eight, would earn the French side a home quarter-final.

Scotland international Finn Russell returns for the visitors, starting at fly-half, while Teddy Iribaren starts in place of Maxime Machenaud at scrum-half.


Saracens: Daly; Maitland, Taylor, Barritt (c), Segun; Farrell, Spencer; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Wray, Earl, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Singleton, Barrington, Lamositele, Skelton, Clark, Whiteley, Lozowski, Lewington.

Racing 92: Dulin; Dupichot, Vakatawa, Chavancy (c), Imhoff; Russell, Iribaren; Ben Arous, Baubigny, Gomes Sa, Ryan, Palu, Lauret, Le Roux, Tanga.

Replacements: Le Guen, Kolingar, Oz, Sanconnie, Chouzenoux, Machenaud, Trinh-Duc, Klemenczak.

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