Exiles target top six finish
January 26, 2007

London Irish has selected a strong match squad for Sunday's stiff test against Saracens at Vicarage Road.

This latest "London Derby" is one of the key tests of this season's Guinness Premiership for both clubs.

With the finish of the club's interest in the Heineken Cup last Sunday at Stradey Park , the Exiles resort to a more familiar starting line-up that features a strong pack and a set of backs with attacking credentials.

Mike Catt returns from England squad training to lead the team at inside centre. Another back making a welcome return from injury is Sailosi Tagicakibau on the left wing. Riki Flutey and Paul Hodgson occupy the half-back positions.

There is a familiar look about the pack with Danie Coetzee and Faan Rautenbach starting at hooker and tight head prop. Earlier this week Coetzee signed a two year extension to his contract with the Exiles. Bob Casey and Nick Kennedy renew their partnership in the second row while Juan Leguizamon starts at No 8.

"Starting on Sunday we face a sequence of six league games that will determine the outcome of our season," said Brian Smith, London Irish Director of Rugby . "We believe we are capable of a top six finish but realise that a lot of other clubs have a similar target.

"We are under no illusions about the difficulty of our task on Sunday," continued Smith., "Saracens are on a roll having won seven of their last eight matches. Alan Gaffney has the luxury of picking from a talented, fit and almost full strength squad that will want to give of their best in front of the home crowd. Our players have worked hard during the week and want to win."

15. Delon Armitage; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Seilala Mapusua*; 12. Mike Catt* (captain); 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau*; 10. Riki Flutey; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Neal Hatley; 2. Danie Coetzee*, 3. Faan Rautenbach*; 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Bob Casey*; 6. Kieran Roche; 7. Steffon Armitage; 8. Juan Leguizamon*.

16. Tonga Lea'aetoa*; 17. David Paice; 18. David Fitter*; 19. James Hudson; 20. Phil Murphy*; 21. Ben Willis; 22. Nils Mordt.

* Denotes international
Director of Rugby: Brian Smith
Forwards Coach: Toby Booth

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