Preview: Saracens v Exeter

Date published: February 6 2015

Saracens have named their side that will face Exeter Chiefs in Sunday’s crunch LV= Cup clash at Allianz Park.

Joe Shaw’s side can secure a home LV= Cup semi-final if the beat cup holders Exeter, who have already booked their place in the last four.

Fresh from his impressive England Saxons debut, Maro Itoje returns to the Saracens team as skipper and will partner USA international lock forward Hayden Smith in the second row.

Elsewhere in the forwards, Welsh international prop forward Rhys Gill starts alongside Jared Saunders and Biyi Alo in the Saracens front-row.

South African loose forward Nick de Jager starts at blindside flanker alongside Jackson Wray (number eight) and Matt Hankin (openside flanker) in the back row.

In the halves, last weekend’s match winner Ben Spencer continues at scrum-half and is partnered by the experienced Nils Mordt, who starts at fly-half.

Max Wilkins continues in the heart of the Saracens midfield after an impressive outing away to London Welsh. Wilkins is partnered by Tim Streather in the centres.

In the back three, Ben Ransom starts at full-back and is joined by Catalin Fercu and Mike Ellery on the wings.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have made just one change with Academy youngster Max Bodilly given his opportunity in the centre in place of Ian Whitten.

On the bench, Carl Rimmer and Alex Brown both return to bolster the front-row options, whilst also included are Ben White, Will Chudley and Jack Arnott.

Cornishman Bodilly is one of a number of Exeter’s homegrown talents and together who with the likes of Sam Simmonds and Sam Skinner have shown they are capable of competing at the top end.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Max Wilkins, 11 Catalin Fercu, 10 Nils Mordt, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Matt Hankin, 6 Nick De Jager, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 Maro Itoje (c), 3 Biyi Alo, 2 Jared Saunders, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Ben Featherstone, 19 Kennett Sharples, 20 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Thretton Palamo, 23 Alex Goode.

Exeter: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 13 Max Bodilly, 12 Adam Hughes, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney (c), 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Sam Skinner, 7 Sam Simmonds, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Will Carrick-Smith, 4 Jerry Sexton, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Ben White, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Laurence May, 23 Jack Arnott.

Date: Sunday, February 8
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Allianz Park