Saracens have named a powerful 23-man squad for the historic north-south clash against the Sharks of South Africa at Allianz Park on Saturday, January 25.
The squad – to be captained by Steve Borthwick – includes several South Africans, including former Sharks centre Brad Barritt and Sharks lock Alistair Hargreaves.
Other players from South Africa include Neil de Kock, Schalk Brits, Jacques Burger, Nick Fenton-Wells, Justin Melck and Ernst Joubert.
Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall described the Sharks “one of the strongest teams” in Super Rugby.
“We’re really looking forward to the challenge,” McCall said.
“Our match against the Springboks four years ago was one of the greatest occasions in the club’s history, and this will be a similar kind of one-off event… the Premiership leaders against South Africa’s Currie Cup champions.
“We will field our strongest possible side.”
The game is the first pre-season outing for the Sharks, ahead of their Super Rugby campaign.
They see it as “an ideal opportunity to fine tune our preparation for the big season ahead”, when they take on the current pace-setters in the English Premiership.
“We are very excited to again take our team to the United Kingdom and build on the incredible support we get there from our ex-pats and locals alike,” Sharks CEO John Smit said in a recent media release.
“Saracens are a good fit for us as an English club with a strong South African flavour.”
Backs: Chris Wyles, David Strettle, Michael Tagicakibau, Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt, Duncan Taylor, Sam Stanley, Charlie Hodgson, Neil de Kock, Richard Wigglesworth.
Forwards: Richard Barrington, Nick Auterac, Schalk Brits, Jamie George, Matt Stevens, Petrus Du Plessis, Steve Borthwick (captain), Alistair Hargreaves, Mouritz Botha, Jacques Burger, Nick Fenton-Wells, Justin Melck, Ernst Joubert.