Ivan van Zyl Saracens

Ivan van Zyl. Photo: Supplied

Former Bok to start at No 9 for Saracens

Six-cap Springbok Ivan van Zyl will start for new English club Saracens, who welcome London Irish to StoneX Stadium.

Ivan van Zyl Saracens

Ivan van Zyl. Photo: Supplied

Van Zyl, who made the move from the Bulls to Saracens last year, keeps his place at scrumhalf, while there is a start for Manu Vunipola at flyhalf as a key European Rugby Challenge Cup clash looms. 


Dom Morris and Nick Tompkins are in the midfield, and just a week after signing a new contract with the club, the former will reach a landmark of 50 appearances for Sarries.

Director of Rugby Mark McCall has named a strong side for what is a must-win game if his team are to eye up a place in the knockout stages. 

Mako Vunipola will captain the team and he is joined by Tom Woolstencroft and Vincent Koch in the front-row, whilst Maro Itoje is paired with Callum Hunter-Hill in the second-row.

In-form Theo McFarland starts in the number six shirt, with Andy Christie at number seven after a memorable week for him which included a call-up to the Scotland squad. Billy Vunipola as ever will line up at number eight. 

Alex Lewington is on the left wing, Sean Maitland will occupy the right and the versatile Elliot Daly moves to full-back. 

On the bench there is a real blend of youth and experience, with internationals such as Jamie George, Eroni Mawi and Alex Lozowski waiting to feature as well as the likes of Harvey Beaton and Ben Harris. 

Morris, who is a boyhood Sarries fan says it is a dream to run out for a 50th time. 

“It’s a massive privilege to win 50 caps. I grew up supporting Saracens so it’s a great honour for me.

“We know this is an important game for us and have had a big week of preparation so we’re very excited to get out there.”

Meanwhile, London Irish have named the squad that will head to the StoneX Stadium.

Facundo Gigena, Matt Cornish and Marcel van der Merwe are confirmed in the front row, with George Nott and Adam Coleman in the second row. Coleman will captain the side from the five jersey.

Matt Rogerson, Juan Martin Gonzalez, and Olly Cracknell make up the back row.

Ben White and Rory Jennings are the half back duo, whilst the centre partnership sees Matt Williams set to make his 50th appearance for the Club alongside Lucio Cinti.

Ollie Hassell-Collins, Kyle Rowe and James Stokes are confirmed as the back three.

“Saracens, we know, will come at us fully loaded, because they will know that qualification for the knock-out rounds is still in their control,” said Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby.

“For us, playing against a club with a big history of success in European competitions is a huge challenge, but one that all the boys are looking forward to.”

London Irish:
15 James Stokes, 14 Kyle Rowe, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Matt Williams, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Rory Jennings, 9 Ben White, 1 Facundo Gigena, 2 Matt Cornish, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 4 George Nott, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 6 Matt Rogerson, 7 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 8 Olly Cracknell.

16 Mike Willemse, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Jack Cooke, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Benhard van Rensburg, 23 Ben Loader.


Saracens team to play London Irish:

1 Mako Vunipola (c)

2 Tom Woolstencroft

3 Vincent Koch 

4 Maro Itoje

5 Callum Hunter-Hill

6 Theo McFarland 

7 Andy Christie

8 Billy Vunipola

9 Ivan van Zyl

10 Manu Vunipola

11 Alex Lewington 

12 Dom Morris

13 Nick Tompkins

14 Sean Maitland 

15 Elliot Daly


16 Jamie George

17 Eroni Mawi 

18 Harvey Beaton

19 Janco Venter

20 Sean Reffell 

21 Ruben de Haas

22 Alex Lozowski

23 Ben Harris