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Tuesday 22 August 2017

FARRELL READY FOR THOMOND

Saracens star expecting huge Munster battle

Owen Farrell will make his first start for five weeks - and a fortnight before England face world champions New Zealand - when Saracens tackle European Champions Cup rivals Munster tonight.

The England fly-half was sidelined due to a quad strain, but a stern European test at Thomond Park now awaits.

Saracens launched their Champions Cup campaign with an impressive Pool One victory over French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne last weekend, when Farrell returned to action as a late second-half substitute, and victory in Limerick would give them control of a punishing group.

"It is definitely going to be a game that goes down to the wire, and we are going to have to be as clinical as ever," said Saracens' England centre Brad Barritt, who will captain the team on Friday.

GREAT START

"We've had a great start to our European campaign, and Munster at Thomond Park is a huge opportunity for us to make another memory.

"We talk about going to these historical grounds, places where people have found it very tough to win, and we know it's going to be extremely tough.

"They are a team with a wealth of European experience and a team that are able to consistently work for 80 minutes to achieve a result."

Farrell will be partnered at half-back by Neil de Kock, while centre Marcelo Bosch replaces Chris Wyles, but skipper Alastair Hargreaves is ruled out by a slight knock, so Scotland international Jim Hamilton deputises.

Munster head coach Anthony Foley, meanwhile, makes two changes from the side that edged past Sale Sharks 27-26 last Saturday, handing starts to props James Cronin and BJ Botha.

"They (Saracens) have been very impressive," Munster captain Peter O'Mahony said.

"They have been knocking on the door of Europe for the last few years, and we know they are hungry for success. It's a big game for us.

"They are a fairly complete side. They can attack from all areas, with dangerous players all over the place."

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