Elliot Daly hands Saracens and England a boost in return from long-term injury
Elliot Daly has the chance to boost both Saracens and England on Saturday, in his first appearance since January for the final regular-season Premiership clash at Bath.
The versatile backline star suffered a torn hamstring in the warm-up ahead of Saracens’ 21-14 Champions Cup pool stage defeat at Edinburgh on January 22.
Daly had only just forced his way back into the England squad for the first time in a year when the hamstring problem struck, with the 30-year-old missing the entire Six Nations.
The 30-year-old had numbered among Steve Borthwick’s big recalls, only to be denied the chance to impress the new England head coach in Test action.
Daly has also missed Saracens’ march to securing top spot in the Premiership, with tomorrow’s final clash at Bristol a chance for rugby director Mark McCall to rotate resources.
Former Wasps flier Daly also has the chance to prove his fitness ahead of the play-off campaign, with Saracens at home for the semi-final on Saturday, May 13.
“Elliot’s had training this week and has come through well,” said Saracens backs coach Kevin Sorrell.
“I remember when he first arrived, we put him on the wing, and we thought ‘ooh, he’s a pretty good winger’.
“Then we put him at full-back and thought ‘ooh, he’s a pretty good full-back’.
“Then he played centre, and it turned out he could do that as well.
“He’s a brilliant player, a brilliant lad, and getting quality players back fit always raises the level.”
Daly will co-captain the Men In Black, starting the west country trip at full-back.
England will hold pre-World Cup training camps in June and July, before facing four warm-up matches in August.
Daly’s timely return before the end of the campaign will offer the experienced backline operator to prove fitness and form to Borthwick, with England opening their World Cup campaign in France by facing Argentina on September 9.
Saracens have already secured their first-place finish in the Premiership, allowing boss McCall to hand out a host of debuts for the Recreation Ground trip.
Former England scrum-half Kyran Bracken’s son Charlie, himself an England Under-20s half-back, could make his Premiership debut off the bench.
Lock Alex Wardell and flanker Nathan Michelow will make their first Premiership starts, with Samson Adejimi, Kaden Pearce-Paul and Max Eke all eyeing debuts from the replacements too.
Saracens team to face Bath: E Daly (co-capt); R Segun, J Hallett, O Hartley, B Harris; Manu Vunipola, R De Haas; E Mawi, E Lewis (co-capt), C Judge; A Wardell, C Hunter-Hill; N Michelow, T Knight, O Stonham. Replacements: S Adejimi, R Hislop, H Beaton, K Pearce-Paul, M Eke, C Bracken, D Morris, T Elliott.