TEAMS: McCall sticks by the Saracens who overcame Leinster

Mark McCall has named an inchanged Saracens side to take on Racing 92 in the Champions Cup semi-final.

Saracens travel to La Defense Arena in Paris after holding off a second-half fightback to beat Leinster 25-17 last weekend.

Michael Rhodes is available to slot in at blindside flanker again after having his citing case dismissed for an alleged headbutt on Leinster centre Robbie Henshaw.

The Man of the Match from the quarter-final in Dublin will joined in the back row by Jackson Wray and Billy Vunipola.

Alex Goode continues at fly-half in the absence of suspended Owen Farrell, with Manu Vunipola available on the bench.

For Vunipola and others within the Saracens squad it will not be the first time this season they have faced Racing 92 having been pooled together earlier in the competition.

It was the French side who won the corresponding fixture on their home turf last November, 30-10, in a match that saw Vunipola make his European bow.

Looking ahead to the match, Saracens full-back Elliot Daly said: “It’s all eyes on this competition for us this year. There are some huge boys in that changing room who won’t be Sarries next year, so we are doing it for them at the moment.

“We have hopefully two more games.”

As for Racing 92, France international Teddy Thomas has recovered from injury to take his place on the wing, replacing the injured Louis Dupichot.

Thomas and outside centre Virimi Vakatawa shone in their previous European semi-final as they defeated Munster 27-22 in 2018 and they will look to repeat that performance in Paris.

Star playmaker Finn Russell is once again at fly-half and he combines with the consistently excellent Teddy Iribaren in the playmaking positions.

Up front, there is also just one alteration as Donnacha Ryan comes in for Bernard Le Roux, with the imposing Boris Palu named on the bench.

Racing 92 captain Teddy Iribaren: “We don’t care about our record against Saracens and it doesn’t give us any more pleasure to beat Saracens than Leinster. We will just concentrate on ourselves and what we want is to be European champions.”

Champions Cup semi-finals

Racing 92 v Saracens (Saturday, 1pm kick-off)

Racing 92: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Olivier Klemenczak, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Teddy Iribaren (capt); 1 Eddy Ben Arous; 2 Camille Chat, 3 Georges Henri Colombe, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Dominic Bird, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Fabien Sanconnie, 8 Antonie Claassen

Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Hassane Kolingar, 18 Ali Oz, 19 Boris Palu, 20 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Antoine Gibert, 23 Francois Trinh-Duc

Saracens: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (capt), 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Alex Goode, 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Vincent Koch, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Tim Swinson, 6 Mike Rhodes, 7 Jackson Wray, 8 Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Manu Vunipola, 23 Dom Morris

Exeter Chiefs v Toulouse (Saturday, 3.30pm kick-off)

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (capt), 9 Jack Maunder; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Harry Williams, 4 Jonny Gray, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Sam Skinner, 8 Sam Simmonds

Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Don Armand, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Ollie Devoto

Toulouse: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont; 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julien Marchand, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 4 Rory Arnold, 5 Joe Tekori, 6 Jerome Kaino (capt), 7 Francois Cros, 8 Selevasio Tolofua

Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Rodrigue Neti, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Alban Placines, 20 Louis Madaule, 21 Alexi Bales, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Matthis Lebel

Challenge Cup semi-finals

Bristol Bears v Bordeaux-Begles (Friday, 6.45pm kick-off)

Bristol: 15 Max Malins, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall; 1 Jake Woolmore, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Ed Holmes, 5 Chris Vui, 6 Steven Luatua (capt), 7 Ben Earl, 8 Nathan Hughes

Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Daniel Thomas, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Piers O’Conor

Bordeaux-Begles: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 12 Ulupano Seuteni, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Maxime Lucu; 1 Jefferson Poirot (capt), 2 Clement Maynadier, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 4 Kane Douglas, 5 Jandré Marais, 6 Cameron Woki, 7 Guido Petti, 8 Marco Tauleigne

Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Lekso Kaulashvili, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Cyril Cazeaux, 20 Alexandre Roumat, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Pablo Uberti

Toulon v Leicester Tigers (Saturday, 8pm kick-off)

Toulon: 15 Daniel Ikpefan, 14 Masivesi Dakuwaqa, 13 Bryce Heem, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Gabin Villière, 10 Louis Carbonel, 9 Tane Takulua; 1 Jean Baptiste-Gros, 2 Anthony Etrillard (capt), 3 Beka Gigashvili, 4 Swan Rebbadj, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 6 Charles Ollivon, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 8 Sergio Parisse

Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Sébastien Taofifenua, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Erwan Dridi, 20 Brian Alainu’uese, 21 Julien Ory, 22 Anthony Meric, 23 Facundo Isa

Leicester Tigers: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (capt), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Tomás Lavanini, 5 Calum Green, 6 Harry Wells, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Hanro Liebenberg

Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Thom Smith, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Ben White, 22 Zack Henry, 23 Dan Kelly

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