Planet Rugby

Preview: Exeter v Saracens

22nd November 2013 09:00

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Saracens v Toulon: Chris Ashton

Club colours: Chris Ashton

Saracens have named their team to face Exeter at Sandy Park, with Chris Ashton and Billy Vunipola returning.

Three of Saracens six England contingent start, with Alex Goode starting at full-back, Ashton on the right wing and Vunipola at number eight - Owen Farrell is rested, whilst Joel Tomkins and Mako Vunipola are sidelined through injury.

In the backs, Tim Streather continues at outside centre after scoring his first try for the club against the Scarlets on his home debut - the 25 year-old partners Argentina's Marcelo Bosch in the midfield.

This seasons Premiership leading try scorer David Strettle returns to the side on the left wing, whilst Charlie Hodgson and Richard Wigglesworth make up a familiar looking half-back pairing.

In the forwards, Richard Barrington, Jamie George and Matt Stevens start in the front-row.

Steve Borthwick returns to captain the side alongside Springbok international Alastair Hargreaves at lock.

In the back-row, Jackson Wray moves to blindside flanker as Billy Vunipola returns to the side at eight, and Namibian Jacques Burger wears the number seven shirt.

Meanwhile, Exeter boss Rob Baxter has rewarded Jack Nowell, who was among those to impress in the LV= Cup, with his first Premiership start of the season on the right wing.

Irishman Ian Whitten is handed his opportunity in the centre alongside Sam Hill.

The remainder of the line-up - which will be skippered by Aussie lock Dean Mumm - remains similar to that which has featured predominantly in the top flight this term.

Baxter is well aware the Londoners - who will welcome back a number of their star names from international duty - will be a tough nut to crack, but he is backing his own troops to replicate their success of 12 months ago when the visitors were sent packing 14-12.

"We know Saturday is tough fixture for us and we have great respect for Saracens," said the Chiefs' coach.

"They have a great work rate, they enjoy being together, and those are great qualities to have. Over the last few years we've had some good and tough fixtures against them, so hopefully this will be the same as we tend to do OK in these types of games."

Form: Exeter Chiefs' only defeat in their last six Aviva Premiership matches was 9-21 at home to Leicester in Round 4. The last opposing team other than the Tigers to have been victorious at Sandy Park in the Premiership was Northampton on 5th January. Saracens' only defeat in the Premiership so far this season came in round six at Northampton. The Sarries have not lost successive away games in the tournament since January 2011. The two clubs each won their respective home game when they played each other in the Premiership last season, whilst Saracens have been victorious twice before at Sandy Park.

The teams:

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Don Armand, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Luke Arscott.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Marcelo Bosch, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Jamie George, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Jared Saunders, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Michael Tagicakibau, 23 Ben Ransom.

Date: Saturday, November 23
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: tba
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Andrew Pearce
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion
Television match official: David Sainsbury

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