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Watford Observer

Saracens will stick with their rotation policy against Harlequins despite recent results, says coach Alex Sanderson

Steve Borthwick started on the bench against Exeter

Steve Borthwick started on the bench against Exeter

Reported by Tom Allnutt

Published / Sport

Saracens will continue to rotate their squad for this weekend’s match against Harlequins despite claims that resting key stars is undermining their league campaign.

Mark McCall’s men have picked up just three points in the last two games and currently sit seven points behind league leaders Harlequins, who they play on Sunday.

The Men in Black lost to Exeter 14-12 last time out with key players such as Schalk Brits, Matt Stevens, Steve Borthwick , Ernst Joubert and Charlie Hodgson all starting on the bench.

First team coach Alex Sanderson insists they will continue to rotate but admits it’s a risky strategy.

“We’re sticking with the rotation system as planned,” he said.

“It is a brave thing to buy into because your natural instinct is to always stick with the players in form and if you get a couple of wins under your belt you want to keep the same team.

“But we have to swap them in and out and make sure everyone gets a fair crack of the whip.”

The argument goes that while results may suffer in the short-term, players will be fresh and in peak condition in the campaign’s most crucial stages at the end of the season.

And Sanderson, who spent two years at Saracens as a player, believes too much is made of players’ ability and instead emphasised the value of motivation.

He said: “As a player, when you’re on form you believe you can beat anyone on your day and at the top level the difference between the best and the very best is tiny.

“So the players who are perhaps more motivated on the day are the ones who you might get the most out of.

“It’s all about getting the best out the players over the course of the 11 months.”

Saracens play Harlequins at the Stoop on Sunday. Kick-off is at 2pm.

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