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TEAM NEWS | Saracens Men v Bath Rugby



Head Coach Joe Shaw has challenged his players to keep making strides forward as they look to build on their impressive start to the season.

The Men in Black welcome Bath Rugby to StoneX Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and Shaw believes there are areas to improve on in both attack and defence when they run out tomorrow looking to make it five wins from five in the Gallagher Premiership.

Director of Rugby Mark McCall has made four changes to the starting line-up after the dominant victory over Newcastle Falcons, with two big injury boosts as Maro Itoje and Alex Goode both return to the starting line-up.

Eroni Mawi starts at loosehead, replacing Mako Vunipola who is suspended, and he will be alongside Kapeli Pifeleti and Marco Riccioni who both shone at Kingston Park.

Itoje partners Hugh Tizard in the second-row who is also back in the side after being rested last week, and they will be in front of a back-row which includes Gallagher Player of the Month Theo McFarland, Jackson Wray and Billy Vunipola.

In-form pair Ivan van Zyl and captain Owen Farrell stay as half-backs, as do the midfield pair of Nick Tompkins and Alex Lozowski.

Elliot Daly moves to the left wing to accommodate Alex Goode at full-back who makes his first start of the season, and Max Malins will be on the right.

There is plenty of firepower on the bench, with the likes of Andy Christie, Ben Earl and Alex Lewington all ready to add their input at StoneX.

Shaw is expecting another big challenge as his side go in search of another victory.

“Bath will be a tough test. Everyone has been talking about our attack but it’s important we get the fundamental parts of our game right and we just want to get better.

The game against Newcastle, particularly in the first half, was a step in the right direction both sides of the ball. If we can gradually get better week in week out, we’ll be in a decent position.”

Saracens Men team to play Bath Rugby:

1 Eroni Mawi

2 Kapeli Pifeleti

3 Marco Riccioni

4 Maro Itoje

5 Hugh Tizard

6 Theo McFarland

7 Jackson Wray

8 Billy Vunipola

9 Ivan van Zyl

10 Owen Farrell (c)

11 Elliot Daly

12 Nick Tompkins

13 Alex Lozowski

14 Max Malins

15 Alex Goode


16 Theo Dan

17 James Flynn

18 Christian Judge

19 Andy Christie

20 Ben Earl

21 Ruben de Haas

22 Manu Vunipola

23 Alex Lewington

Images & Content – Saracens Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

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Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.  

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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