European Rugby Champions Cup: Saracens v Cardiff Blues

Maro Itoje
Maro Itoje is likely to miss the rest of 2018 with a knee injury
European Rugby Champions Cup Pool Three
Venue: Allianz Park Date: Sunday, 9 December Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Live score updates on BBC local radio and on the BBC Sport website

Saracens will be without injured lock Maro Itoje when they host Cardiff Blues in the Champions Cup on Sunday.

He will be out for "a number of weeks" after returning from England duty with a knee problem, but prop Mako Vunipola makes his comeback from a calf injury.

Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe returns for the Blues as one of four starting changes.

Jarrod Evans comes in at centre, George Earle at lock and Dillon Lewis and Kirby Myhill in the front row.

Owen Farrell is reinstated as Saracens fly-half with Alex Goode switching back to full-back.

Wales full-back and wing Liam Williams remains sidelined after his late withdrawal from last weekend's game against Leicester.

Unbeaten Saracens top Pool Three, while Blues are third having beaten Lyon and lost to Glasgow.

Gareth Anscombe
Gareth Anscombe returns for Cardiff having impressed in the number 10 jersey for Wales during their autumn clean sweep

Blues head coach John Mulvihill said: "We are right in the mix in Pool Three and these back-to-back matches against Saracens will be decisive. We have to rise to the occasion and we have already demonstrated we can step up in Europe with a great win over in Lyon.

"This week is all about staying in the contest, competing for every piece of possession and putting their structured game plan under pressure, and [getting] a good lead into our derby games that are just around the corner."

Saracens: Alex Goode; Sean Maitland, Alex Lozowski, Brad Barritt (capt), Alex Lewington; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Vincent Koch, Nick Isiekwe, Will Skelton, Mike Rhodes, Schalk Burger, Jackson Wray

Replacements: Tom Woolstencroft, Richard Barrington, Christian Judge, Dom Day, Calum Clark, Ben Earl, Ben Spencer, Nick Tompkins.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Blaine Scully, Harri Millard, Jarrod Evans, Jason Harries; Gareth Anscombe, Lloyd Williams (capt); Rhys Gill, Kirby Myhill, Dillon Lewis, George Earle, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Samu Manoa

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Brad Thyer, Scott Andrews, Macauley Cook, Nick Williams, Lewis Jones, Steven Shingler, Garyn Smith

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Assistants: Cyril Lafon (France), Stephane Boyer (France)

TMO: Denis Grenouillet (France)

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