Hartley and George to face off on Sunday with probable Lions spot at stake

Saracens hooker Jamie George is hoping to press his claim for Lions selection
Saracens hooker Jamie George is hoping to press his claim for Lions selection
©PA

England internationals Jamie George and Dylan Hartley will be seen competing against each other during the upcoming Aviva Premiership encounter between Northampton Saints and Saracens on Sunday.

This will also be their last chance to impress British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland, who is set to announce the squad for the New Zealand tour on 19th April.

George is England's form player in the number two jersey and captains Saracens this weekend, but he plays second fiddle to Hartley, who leads the RBS 6 Nations champions under Eddie Jones.

Another Saracens player hoping to catch Gatland's eye is George Kruis, who makes his first appearance since December after overcoming a knee injury to take his place in the starting XV.

Having recovered from a fractured cheekbone, Kruis missed the Six Nations when forced to undergo knee surgery, but he remains a genuine Lions contender on the strength of his past performances and line-out expertise.

"George has been pretty phlegmatic about the injuries he's had this season. What else can he do? He has been enormously helpful to the team," Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said.

"He's a very intelligent line-out operator and he's been very helpful over the last couple of months, making sure we're as well planned and thorough as we possibly could have been.

"He's really helped us in that regard and we're really looking forward to getting him back out on the pitch."

Saracens will continue their push for a home play-off without Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth and Brad Barritt, who are being rested with the seismic Champions Cup semi-final against Munster scheduled only six days later.

Billy Vunipola and Chris Ashton are named on the bench, but South African flanker Schalk Burger returns from a calf problem against a Northampton team whose hopes of finishing in the top four are fading.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Aviva Premiership.

12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.

Saracens are the 2016 champions, can anyone take their crown?

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