Lions duo fit for action

British & Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward will be keeping a close eye on proceedings at Vicarage Road this Sunday when both Julian White and Richard Hill make a full return to action. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward will be keeping a close eye on proceedings at Vicarage Road this Sunday when both Julian White and Richard Hill make a full return to action.

The England pair have both been included in the Lions squad for the summer tour to New Zealand, but Hill will be starting his first Zurich Premiership game for Saracens in six months after undergoing knee reconstruction surgery.

And White, the Leicester prop, returns from a two-month injury lay-off after injuring his neck during England’s opening RBS 6 Nations defeat to Wales.

Leicester bided their time but are confident their powerful tight-head prop has recovered from his "stinger" injury and is now fit for the trip to Saracens as the Tigers up the pace in their hunt for another Premiership and European Cup double.

"All he needed was time, as you do with most injuries, but I think it’s a great boost to the squad," said Tigers head coach John Wells.

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White comes in for Darren Morris while fellow Lions squad member Ben Kay has been tentatively included in the squad, though he will have to pass a fitness test on his injured ankle on Saturday before his place is confirmed.

If Kay misses out this weekend he will come into contention for Leicester’s European Cup semi-final against Toulouse at the Walkers Stadium on April 24.

Hill made his long-awaited Premiership return off the bench in last week’s defeat to Wasps but starts for the first time after an intense recuperation period which took him to the mountains of Vermont.

"I thoroughly enjoyed being able to get back into the middle of the action and pleased to come through the game OK last week," he said.

"I certainly got tested during my time on the pitch being at the bottom of rucks, tackling and being tackled and also took a couple of big knocks to the area which didn’t cause any ill effect.

"In truth the last seven days have been good ones for me. Not only have I played my first rugby in six months but I was also selected in the British & Irish Lions squad, which is of course a great honour.

"It goes without saying that none of what I have achieved in the last week would have been possible if it weren’t for the support and hard work of a lot of people from Saracens, England and others like (knee surgeon) Bill Knowles in the US."

Three sides of Vicarage Road were sold out for the game by Saturday lunchtime and Saracens officials are expecting a bumper crowd for the game.

And a home win over the Premiership pace-setters would place Saracens right in the mix for third place and the final play-off spot.

Wasps, who unveiled Ian McGeechan as their new director of rugby on Friday, are just four points behind Leicester in second place and take on a Worcester side fighting valiantly against the drop.

Worcester beat Newcastle last week but five sides are separated by just three points at the bottom in what is a dramatic battle for survival.

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