TEAM NEWS | Exeter Chiefs v Saracens Men
Ben Earl says the trip to Sandy Park is always one of the most challenging outings of the season, but one that raises the excitement levels amongst the squad.
The Men in Black head to Exeter looking to maintain their perfect start to the campaign, however they travel to a ground where the Chiefs have already beaten two of the top four from last season which underlines the size of the challenge ahead on Saturday afternoon.
Director of Rugby Mark McCall has made four changes to the starting line-up after the narrow win over Bath last Saturday. There is a big boost in the pack as Mako Vunipola returns from suspension, whilst Christian Judge, Earl and Nick Tompkins are also back in the XV.
Vunipola joins Kapeli Pifeleti and Judge in the front-row, with Maro Itoje and Hugh Tizard maintaining their second-row partnership.
Theo McFarland will be blindside flanker, with Earl at openside and Billy Vunipola as ever at the base of the scrum.
Ivan van Zyl and captain Owen Farrell are once again half-backs, and Tompkins slots back in to a familiar midfield next to Alex Lozowski.
Alex Lewington, who scored his 50th Premiership try last week stays on the left wing, with Max Malins on the right after his England re-call this week. Elliot Daly moves back to full-back where his early season form has been sensational.
On the bench there could be a significant achievement, as when Alex Goode is called upon he will equal Kris Chesney’s all-time appearance record for the club which stands at 338.
Earl says there is huge excitement in the group ahead of the trip to Sandy Park.
“Exeter away is always one of the toughest games of the season but it’s one we can’t wait for.
We were disappointed with our performance last weekend but we’re excited to get out there on Saturday against top quality opposition.”
Saracens Men team to play Exeter Chiefs:
1 Mako Vunipola
2 Kapeli Pifeleti
3 Christian Judge
4 Maro Itoje
5 Hugh Tizard
6 Theo McFarland
7 Ben Earl
8 Billy Vunipola
9 Ivan van Zyl
10 Owen Farrell (c)
11 Alex Lewington
12 Nick Tompkins
13 Alex Lozowski
14 Max Malins
15 Elliot Daly
16 Theo Dan
17 James Flynn
18 Alec Clarey
19 Callum Hunter-Hill
20 Andy Christie
21 Jackson Wray
22 Ruben de Haas
23 Alex Goode