Racing 92 v Saracens (Sat)

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Alex Goode and Elliot Daly
Alex Goode (10) has stepped into the fly-half role in the absence of the suspended Owen Farrell
Date: Saturday 26 September Kick-off: 14:00 BST Venue: Paris La Defense Arena
Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website with live text

Saracens have named an unchanged side for their semi-final meeting with Racing 92 and the next stage on a potentially extraordinary defence of their Champions Cup crown.

Alex Goode continues at fly-half in the absence of the suspended Owen Farrell.

Prop Mako Vunipola and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth are fit after making their comebacks in the last-eight win over Leinster.

Wing Teddy Thomas and second row Donnacha Ryan come into the Racing XV.

The French side have Scotland international Finn Russell at fly-half, with Teddy Iribaren preferred to Maxime Machenaud at nine.

Ryan is joined in the side by another former Ireland international as Simon Zebo starts at full-back. Recently-signed Australia international Kurtley Beale is unavailable after picking up a ban on domestic duty.

Saracens are aiming to win a fourth Champions Cup trophy in five years in a season overshadowed by their forthcoming relegation to the second-tier Championship for persistent breaches of the Premiership’s salary-cap regulations.

The two side were paired in the same pool earlier in the competition with Saracens winning 27-24 at home after a below-strength side suffered a 30-10 defeat in Paris.

Overall Saracens have won six of their previous eight meetings with Racing in the competition, including the victory in the 2016 final that secured the club their first European title.

Several high-profile players, such as Ben Spencer, George Kruis and Ben Earl, have left Saracens since their punishment was announced and it is expected that more will look for loan moves away from the club once their European campaign ends.

The winner of the match will face either Exeter or Toulouse in this season’s final.

Line-ups

Racing 92: Zebo; Thomas, Vakatawa, Klemenczak, Imhoff; Russell, Iribaren (c); Ben Arous, Chat, Colombe, Bird, Ryan, Lauret, Sanconnie, Claassen

Replacements: Baubigny, Kolingar, Oz, Palu, Chouzenoux, Machenaud, Gibert, Trinh-Duc

Saracens: Daly; Lewington, Taylor, Barritt (c), Maitland; Goode, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, George, Koch; Itoje, Swinson; Rhodes, Wray, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Woolstencroft, Barrington, Clarey, Hunter-Hill, Clark, Davies, M Vunipola, Morris.

‘We are doing it for them’ – what they say

Racing 92 scrum-half Teddy Ibaren: “We don’t care about our record against Saracens and it doesn’t give us any more pleasure to beat Saracens than Leinster. We just concentrate on ourselves and what we want is to be European champions.”

Saracens full-back Elliot Daly: “It’s all eyes on this competition for us this year. There are some huge boys in that changing room who won’t be Sarries next year, so we are doing it for them at the moment. We have hopefully two more games.”


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