Saracens v Exeter - Aviva Premiership match preview

Last Updated: 16/02/13 5:59pm

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Allianz Park: Will host a Saracens Premiership game for the first time

Allianz Park: Will host a Saracens Premiership game for the first time

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A sell-out crowd will be present for Saracens' first Aviva Premiership match at Allianz Park against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

The match will also be the first in the Premiership game to be played on an artificial turf pitch and gives Sarries a chance to temporarily go top of the league prior to Harlequins' clash with Leicester later in the day.

The hosts will have to cope without a host of internationals, with Alex Goode, Owen Farrell, Chris Ashton and Brad Barritt on England duty and Kelly Brown away with Scotland.

Hooker Schalk Brits is ruled out through injury with Rhys Gill, Duncan Taylor and Jacques Burger also on the absentee list.

Adam Powell comes in to replace Taylor at centre following the shock loss to London Irish last time out, and James Short comes in on the wing.

Saracens reshuffle their pack with Mako Vunipola coming in at prop, Mouritz Botha named in the second row and Jackson Wray and Ernst Joubert brought into the back row of a strong-looking set of forwards.

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter has made four changes to the team which were beaten by Sale last time out.

Lock Damian Welch and No 8 Kai Horstmann both start for the Chiefs for the first time in the Premiership, while Ian Whitten is included at outside centre and Matt Jess named on the wing.

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 James Short, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Adam Powell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Alistair Hagreaves, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Joe Maddock.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Richard Baxter (capt), 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Tom Hayes, 20 Aly Muldowney, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Phil Dollman.

What they said...

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall

"It's a day that will not only be enjoyed by the players, but also supporters and everyone connected with the project who have put all their energy and effort into delivering a fantastic venue that will also be enjoyed and used by the whole community.

"But while the sense of occasion will not be lost on us, our priority is to deliver a performance on the pitch against a very good Exeter Chiefs side."

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