Planet Rugby

Preview: Saracens v Exeter Chiefs

21st February 2014 11:00

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Joel Tomkins Saracens 2013

Joel Tomkins: Back from injury for Sarries

Saracens boss Mark McCall has made several changes to his side for Sunday's clash with Exeter Chiefs at Allianz Park.

With the club celebrating it's one year birthday at Allianz Park, McCall has rotated his squad after their hard fought 10-15 victory away to Sale Sharks last Friday.

In the pack, Richard Barrington, Schalk Brits and James Johnston come into the side, with Jamie George and Matt Stevens reverting to the bench - Mako Vunipola is away on international duty with England.

Elsewhere, England Saxons lock George Kruis partners England international Mouritz Botha in the second row, whilst in the back row Jackson Wray and Kelly Brown pack down alongside No.8 Ernst Joubert who captains the side.

In the back-line, Ben Ransom starts at full-back replacing England international Alex Goode. On the wings Chris Wyles comes into the side for David Strettle (who is rested) and joins Chris Ashton on the flanks.

Joel Tomkins makes his long awaited return to the Saracens starting XV at outside centre and is partnered by Brad Barritt in the midfield.

Charlie Hodgson wears the number 10 shirt and is joined by familiar half-back partner Richard Wigglesworth in the halves.

Meanwhile, Exeter boss Rob Baxter has made three changes to his side that lost narrowly to Bath last weekend.

Baxter sticks with an unchanged pack, but behind there are changes. Henry Slade comes in at inside centre, Phil Dollman switches to full-back and there is a start for Tongan international Fetu'u Vainikolo on the right wing.

On the bench, Slade's promotion offers a first Premiership opportunity for Welshman Ceri Sweeney, whilst experienced Kiwi centre Jason Shoemark is also named in the travelling 23.

Form: Saracens head into this clash desperate to atone for their loss to London Irish at home a fortnight ago - their first home loss of the season. Exeter find themselves in a tricky run of form, losing four games on the bounce ahead of Sunday's match-up.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert (c), 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 George Kruis, 3 James Johnston, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Steve Borthwick, 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Tim Streather.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Henry Slade, 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 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Don Armand, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Jason Shoemark.

Date: Sunday 23rd February
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 1515 (local and GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng)
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Burton (both Eng)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (Eng)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
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Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
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Argentina vs Australia19:40
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Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
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Leinster vs Munster18:30
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Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
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Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
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La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
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Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
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FixtureDetails
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Thursday , October 2
Auckland 60 - 19 Waikato
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
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Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
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Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
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Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
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Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
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Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
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Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
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Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411