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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Sarries pack should stand firm against champion Chiefs

Exeter struggling to match home form on the road

Saracens hooker Schalk Brits provides plenty of experience and power
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Aviva Premiership
BT Sport 2, 3pm Sunday

Saracens' defeat at Gloucester last weekend allowed champions Exeter to go top of the Premiership standings but even though they are missing some key names Sarries look to have the personnel to take back top spot.

With fly-halves Owen Farrell and Alex Lozowski away with England, Max Malins wears the number ten shirt, making just his ninth Saracens appearance and first Premiership start.

But there's still plenty of power and experience in the Saracens pack even without Jamie George, the Vunipola brothers and Maro Itoje. A front row of Richard Barrington, Schalk Brits and Vincent Koch is experienced and uncompromising while England's George Kruis partners the towering Wallaby Will Skelton in the second row.

Exeter have rarely had concerns living with opposition set-pieces and this should be a fascinating and fearsome forward battle.

So solid at home, the Chiefs have been far from convincing on the road this season. An easy success at struggling Worcester apart, they have suffered defeats at Gloucester and Leicester and scraped home 10-6 at Sale.

Sarries will be hurting after that Gloucester defeat, in which they dominated possession and territory in the first half, and the result should not be seen in such a bad light after the Cherry & Whites' victory at Newcastle on Friday. A two-point handicap looks more than manageable.

In the Pro14 Munster give up 14 points at Zebre (Sky Sports Action, 1.30pm) while Scarlets are eight-point favourites as they take on the winless Kings in South Africa (S4C, 1pm).

Recommendation
Saracens -2
2pts 10-11 BoyleSports, Coral, Ladbrokes


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There's still plenty of power and experience in the Saracens pack even without Jamie George, the Vunipola brothers and Maro Itoje
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