Both players are once again fit (concussion) having completed the graduated return-to-play protocol this week and join fellow Scotland cap Ben Vellacott – who starts at scrum-half – in the only changes to the XV that claimed a bonus-point win against Castres Olympique last Sunday.
Both sides have already secured their place in the knockout stages but head into Sunday’s contest knowing a win could guarantee a top-four position in Pool A, and thus a home Round of 16 tie (w/o 31 March).
DAM Health Stadium is all but sold-out for this can’t-miss European clash, with only a small number of single seats available in the 7,774 capacity ground. The club expects to announce a full house later today.
Ahead of the match, Head Coach Mike Blair said: “Games like this are why we’re all involved in professional rugby. A massive European tie against English giants, a sold-out home crowd and the prospect of securing home advantage in the knockout stages.
“As I mentioned earlier in the week, it’s amazing the difference a win can make. Claiming all five points in Castres was a brilliant result for us and it’s acted as a catalyst for a really strong training week.
“A win like that focuses the mind a little bit more and there’s been a buzz around the squad as we prepare to take on a quality Saracens side who are full of confidence at the moment.
“To have a sold-out DAM Health Stadium behind us will be absolutely massive and I’m sure our supporters will back us from first minute to last, as they have done all season.”
An unchanged back-three sees Henry Immleman continue at full-back with Blair Kinghorn and Jack Blain selected on the wings.
Lang returns to partner Mark Bennett in midfield as Vellacott combines with stand-off Charlie Savala at half-back.
An unchanged front-row sees hooker Dave Cherry – who this week penned a new two-year deal with the club – pack down alongside Scotland props WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman.
Sam Skinner returns to his more familiar position of lock, having started on the blindside last weekend, with co-captain Grant Gilchrist retaining his place in the second-row to complete the tight-five.
Jamie Ritchie (openside flanker) – named Scotland captain for the upcoming Six Nations Championship earlier this week – and Viliame Mata (number 8) continue in the back-row alongside the returning Crosbie.
On the bench, Adam McBurney (hooker) and Wes Goosen (back-three) both return from injury to be involved in the 23, while lock Jamie Hodgson could make his 50th appearance if called upon.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Saracens at DAM Health Stadium in the Heineken Champions Cup
Sunday 22 January (kick-off 5.30pm) – live on BT Sport
15. Henry Immelman (23)
14. Jack Blain (23)
13. Mark Bennett (80)
12. James Lang (31)
11. Blair Kinghorn (129)
10. Charlie Savala (24)
9. Ben Vellacott (31)
1. Pierre Schoeman (94)
2. Dave Cherry (64)
3. WP Nel (183)
4. Sam Skinner (8)
5. Grant Gilchrist (185) CO-CAPTAIN
6. Jamie Ritchie (94) CO-CAPTAIN
7. Luke Crosbie (81)
8. Viliame Mata (108)
16. Adam McBurney (17)
17. Boan Venter (39)
18. Lee-Roy Atalifo (28)
19. Jamie Hodgson (49)
20. Nick Haining (32)
21. Henry Pyrgos (79)
22. Cammy Hutchison (17)
23. Wes Goosen (6)
Unavailable: Emiliano Boffelli, Luan de Bruin, Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Darcy Graham, Patrick Harrison, Damien Hoyland, Stuart McInally, Harry Paterson, Pierce Phillips, Duhan van der Merwe, Hamish Watson, Angus Williams.
All You Need To Know | Barbarians Double-Header
The Munster Men’s and Women’s team will be in action this weekend in a historic double-header against the Barbarians.
Find out all you need to know ahead of the games below.
There will be a minute’s applause for Greig Oliver ahead of the men’s game following his tragic passing in July. Hawick RFC posted a lovely piece on a commemorative event that was recently held at the club here. Read our tribute to Greig here.
The women’s game kicks off at 2pm and the men’s game starts at 4.30pm.
Tickets are available to purchase here from €20 for adults and €10 for juniors right up until kick off.
The best value tickets are the Family Packs of four tickets for just €40 which include 2 Adults & 2 Juniors tickets.
Live on Access Munster, brought to you by Pinergy – see full details here.
Did you know?
The URC trophy will be on display for photos behind the North Terrace.
The first-ever Barbarians Women’s game was played against Munster at Thomond Park in 2017.
The Munster men’s team have never faced the Barbarians.
All four sides will be named before lunchtime on Friday.
Hear from Munster Women’s Head Coach Niamh Briggs and Men’s Head Coach Graham Rowntree ahead of the games.
Tickets for all Munster men’s home game for the 2023/24 campaign are available here.
Images & Content from Munster Rugby
Cardiff announce signing of new fly-half
Cardiff Rugby have added further depth to their fly-half resources with the signing of former Wales Under-20s star Arwel Robson.
The 26-year-old arrives from Cornish Pirates where he has spent the last two seasons after leaving Dragons RFC in 2021.
Robson has already linked up with the first-team squad and is relishing the opportunity that lies ahead at Cardiff Arms Park.
He said: “I’m incredibly excited to make the move to Cardiff. It’s an honour to be able to play at the Arms Park and I can’t wait to get the chance to run out here for the first time.
“I grew up on the terraces of the Arms Park, in a family of Cardiff season ticket holders and I was a ball boy for years so it is a club that means a huge amount to me and my family.
“After speaking to Matt about the style of play he wants to utilise, I’m confident it will really suit me and also continue to bring my game on.
“I’m very grateful to everyone at Cornish Pirates for the opportunity and support they gave me in the past few years.
“I’ve played a lot of rugby down there and feel I am returning to Wales a better player and I am looking forward to continuing my development at the Arms Park.
“Cardiff also have a reputation for developing talent and the progression of players from the academy right through to the senior national team is testament to that.
“Now I am just looking forward to getting on the training pitch and competing for game-time.”
Robson will fight for a place at fly-half alongside fellow new signing Tinus de Beer, Ben Thomas and academy duo Harrison James and Harri Wilde.
He is the fourth signing this summer, following de Beer, Ciaran Parker and Rhys Litterick, and head coach Matt Sherratt is pleased to add to his fly-half resources.
Sherratt said: “We are delighted have have signed Arwel for this season. He has a good skill set, will challenge the line and having regular game time has improved his in game management.
“He has played a significant amount with Cornish Pirates over the past two seasons which is a sign of a player who was willing to take himself out of his comfort zone to go to a new club and get regular game time. It shows he is driven.
“Added to that he has a connection with the region and a point to prove in the Welsh professional game. He gives us a bit more depth at 10 and has slotted in well to training.”
Spingbok loosehead joins DHL Stormers ranks
Loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka has joined the DHL Stormers squad ahead of the 2023/24 season.
The 33-year-old Springbok front row forward has made the move to Cape Town and brings considerable experience with him.
Gqoboka only took up the game at the age of 19 and within two years had already secured his first professional contract. He has accumulated over 150 senior caps since then and made his Springbok debut in 2019.
DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that Gqoboka’s proven track record means he will be ready to hit the ground running when the season gets underway.
“Lizo is an experienced player who would be a valuable asset for any squad in what is an important position.
“He has already settled in well here in the pre-season and we are all looking forward to seeing what he can do when the season gets underway,” he said.
Gqoboka said that having played against the DHL Stormers many times in his career, he is excited about feeling the support of the Faithful.
“This is a great team with some incredible supporters and I can’t wait to run out in the blue and white jersey and give my all.
“My family and I have felt at home right away here, my teammates and the coaches have been so welcoming and I want to repay that when I get the chance to take the field as a DHL Stormer,” he said.