Racing 92 vs Saracens: Champions Cup preview, how to live stream and watch on TV, team news and prediction

Harry Latham-Coyle
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Saracens begin the defence of their Champions Cup crown amid controversy and confusion after the salary cap scandal that has rocked club rugby.

With rumours now suggesting that the club will not be appealing the points deduction and fine levied against them, focus now switches to how Mark McCall manages his side during the course of the season, with McCall hinting the club may prioritise Premiership survival.

McCall has opted to give his returning England stars an extra week of rest, naming a largely second-string starting line-up, though Jack Singleton and Ben Spencer do figure after peripheral roles. Vincent Koch is named on the bench after helping South Africa to World Cup triumph.

Racing 92 pushed Saracens close in the final of this competition in 2016 and name a strong side, with Finn Russell ready to pull the strings from ten at a Paris La Defense Arena particularly welcoming for teams who are keen to play. Racing are without AWOL second row Leone Nakarawa, who has been temporarily suspended by the club.

Here is everything you need to know about the Champions Cup Pool 4 clash.

When is it?

Kick-off at the Paris La Defense Arena is at 3.15pm GMT.

How can I watch it?

The match will be shown live on BT Sport 2, with coverage beginning at 3pm.

BT Sport subscribers can watch the game via the online player or using the BT Sport app.

Team News

Saracens have opted to give a number of England’s World Cup stars an extra week of rest, with only fringe figure Jack Singleton and injury call-up Ben Spencer named in the squad for their European opener, though there is a place for World Cup winning tighthead Vincent Koch on the bench. Young Welsh loosehead Rhys Carre makes his debut for his new club, while Jackson Wray makes his 50th appearance in the Champions Cup for the club.

Racing 92 are without Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa, who has been temporarily suspended by the club after reporting back to Paris late after the World Cup, with rumours suggesting he was building a house in Fiji. Finn Russell starts at fly-half, while former Ireland star Simon Zebo is named among the replacements.

Confirmed Line-ups

Racing 92: Brice Dulin; Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Henry Chavancy, Juan Imhoff; Finn Russell, Maxime Machenaud; Eddy Ben Arous, Camille Chat, Cedate Gomes Sa; Donnacha Ryan, Boris Palu; Wenceslas Lauret, Baptiste Chouzenoux, Antonie Claassen.

Replacements: Teddy Baubigny, Hassane Kolingar, Ali Oz, Dominic Bird, Yoan Tanga, Teddy Iribaren, Ben Volavola, Simon Zebo.

Saracens: Matt Gallagher; Sean Maitland, Alex Lozowksi, Nick Tompkins, Rotimi Segun; Manu Vunipola, Ben Spencer; Rhys Carre, Jack Singleton, Titi Lamisotele; Will Skelton, Callum Hunter-Hill; Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Jackson Wray.

Replacements: Joe Gray, Sam Crean, Vincent Koch, Joel Kpoku, Sean Reffell, Tom Whiteley, Damian Willemse, Duncan Taylor.

Odds

Racing 92 2/7

Saracens 7/2

Draw 20/1

Prediction

Racing 92 should be too strong for this second-string Saracens side at home, and with the Paris La Defense Arena particularly conducive to open, running rugby, there may well be points.

Expect Finn Russell to star in pulling the strings as Racing 92 get their Champions Cup campaign off to a perfect start with a bonus point victory.

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