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European Rugby Champions Cup: Lyon v Saracens

Itoje played all four of England’s autumn internationals despite his knee injury
European Rugby Champions Cup
Venue: Matmut Stadium de Gerland Date: Sunday, 13 January Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Live score updates on BBC local radio and on the BBC Sport website

Second row Maro Itoje returns for Saracens after chipping his kneecap in England’s autumn Test series.

Fellow British and Irish Lion Jamie George is back at hooker after being rested for the defeat by Sale.

Jackson Wray replaces Nick Isiekwe at blind-side flanker while Sean Maitland comes in for David Strettle on the wing.

Lyon’s line-up includes France wings Noa Nakaitaci and Alexis Palisson and Jonathan Wisniewski at fly-half.

Saracens, who lifted the trophy in 2016 and 2017, are four points clear at the top of Pool Three after winning their opening four games in this year’s campaign.

Pool Three
Played Won Points
1. Saracens 4 4 18
2. Glasgow 4 3 14
3. Cardiff 4 1 4
4. Lyon 4 0 0

Lyon have lost all four of their matches, including a 29-10 defeat in the reverse fixture at Allianz Park in October. But Les Loups are unbeaten at home in the French Top 14.

“It is always hard with French teams as they take a lot of pride in their home ground so I guess we don’t need much more motivation than that,” said number eight Billy Vunipola.

“Maybe if we kid ourselves and think that we’ll be OK if we just think about ourselves we’re likely to slip up. We need to turn out with the right attitude and that’s from everyone, and focus on our jobs at hand, but also be ready for a scrap.”

Line-ups

Saracens: Goode: Maitland, Tompkins. Lozowski, Williams; Farrell, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Wray, Burger, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Tolofua, Barrington, Judge, Skelton, Earl, Spence, Bosch, Strettle

Lyon: Arnold; Nakaitaci, Barassi, Regard, Palisson; Wisniewski, Doussain; Menini, Lacombe, Gomez Kodela, Roodt, Van der Merwe, Puricelli (captain), Cretin, Fourie.

Replacements: Maurouard, Buckle, Yameogo, Oosthuizen, Gill, Wulf, Buttin, McLeod.

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