Ulster Rugby vs Saracens




Saracens didn’t recruit heavily in the off-season, but one of the few fresh faces introduced to a settled squad in north London has already made an instant impact. In his new surroundings of Allianz Park, loose forward Michael Rhodes has instantly become a fan favourite with his uncompromising and abrasive style of play immediately endearing him to the Sarries faithful. Signed from South African Super 15 side, Stormers, Rhodes has also represented Western Province, The Sharks and the Lions in his native South African Currie Cup tournament. A former neighbour of Saracens captain Alistair Hargreaves during their time in Durban, Rhodes has seemlessly slotted into the Saracens squad. Saracen’s very own Mr Dependable arguably doesn’t receive the plaudits his consistent performances warrant. A cornerstone of Saracen’s strong set-piece, Petrus Du Plessis’ displays in the Sarries number three jersey were key to the club’s Aviva Premiership win last season. The No3 shirt is possibly Saracen’s most competitive position to fill. Australian Kieran Longbottom and the highly regarded Argentine Juan Figallo are both vying for the spot, so is USA World Cup star Titi Lamositele and Academy bolter Biyi Alo. Du Plessis though has been in superb form once again this season. His contribution in his side’s scrummaging performance against a much-fancied Toulouse front-row will pay testament to that. Saracens’ young forward was crowned an Aviva Premiership champion in his breakthrough season with the club after he captained the club to victory in the LV= Cup and Premiership A-League success earlier in the season. A World Cup training camp would follow an amazing season that also saw Itoje win an England Saxons call-up. The powerful 21-year old, who is equally adept in the back row as he is at lock forward, has made a big impression so far in the 2015/16 season. Itoje, alongside Will Fraser, Jamie George, George Kruis, Jackson Wray and the Vunipola brothers is part of an exciting set of youngsters that are currently packing down for the Men in Black




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