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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Saracens look to have crucial edge in clash with Wasps

Return of Itoje and Vunipola is a boost

England lock Maro Itoje returns for Saracens
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Aviva Premiership
BT Sport 1, 3pm Sunday

Highflying Wasps are on a roll but they are narrow underdogs for the visit of Saracens, the last team to beat them in the Premiership.

The teams met at Allianz Park in October when Sarries ran out 38-19 winners, inflicting a fourth successive defeat on a Wasps side in the grip of an injury crisis.

Dai Young's side haven't looked back since with six straight league victories in which they have run in 28 tries, and there is a real incision to their attacking play that has made them irresistible.

Wasps have suffered a home defeat to Newcastle in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in that time, with a second string out, and they have also lost at La Rochelle but bounced back with a home win over the French powerhouses the following week.

So confidence ought to be high but they look sure to face a tough physical test against a Saracens side who have come through a blip of their own and are boosted by the return of key England forwards.

Sarries lost three in a row in the Premiership before a double-header of defeats to Clermont in Europe in December. But wins over Leicester and Worcester seem to have put them back on track, and the return of Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola today gives them huge extra presence up front.

In contrast there's no Elliot Daly or Jimmy Gopperth in the Wasps line-up while captain Joe Launchbury is on the bench, and Saracens look to have a crucial edge in the strength of their pack and in attack.

Recommendation
Saracens -2
2pts 10-11 general


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The teams met in October when Sarries ran out 38-19 winners, inflicting a fourth successive defeat on a Wasps side in the grip of an injury crisis
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