New start new strip for Chris Ashton

Saracens begin their 2012/13 Aviva Premiership season at Twickenham on Saturday when they face London Irish as part of the London Double Header.

In team news ahead of the game, Chris Ashton makes a Premiership debut for Saracens while Kelly Brown also makes a return from the leg injury that saw him miss the second half of last season. Centre Joel Tomkins forms a partnership with Brad Barritt with Alex Goode at full back.

Mako Vunipola is given the nod at loose head prop with Petrus du Plessis on the other side of the scrum. Rhys Gill and Carlos Nieto are among the replacements. Owen Farrell and Alistair Hargreaves both picked up knocks in training this week and miss the match.

Director of Rugby Mark McCall said: “It promises to be an exciting season in the Aviva Premiership and looking around the league, all clubs have strengthened going into the new campaign with quality players joining from all across the globe – proving that this competition is one of the best in the world.

“The players have worked hard over the summer months in an excellent pre-season that has allowed us to spend time together on and off the field, creating an even stronger bond among the group. The objective of the club is to be consistently successful and we are aware that in order for that to be achieved, there will be no substitute for hard work over the coming months – starting at Twickenham on Saturday.

“London Irish have made a number of changes on and off the field. In Brian Smith they have an experienced Director of Rugby and with the likes of Tomas O’Leary and Shane Geraghty joining their squad, they have also added quality on the pitch which should make for an exciting game

Saracens v London Irish
Saturday 1st September, a Twickenham
Kick-off: 16:30

Starting XV:
15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Schalk Brits, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 4 Steve Borthwick ©, 5 Mouritz Botha, 6 Kelly Brown, 7 Will Fraser, 8 Ernst Joubert

16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 James Short