Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals Team News
Saturday’s Premiership team news as Saracens faces Leicester and Exeter Chiefs host Wasps in this year’s semi-finals…
Saracens v Leicester Tigers (12:30pm kick-off)
Saracens are unchanged from the side that won the European Champions Cup against Racing 92 last Saturday.
Premiership player of the year Alex Goode starts at full-back, with Chris Ashton and Chris Wyles on the wings.
Leicester Tigers recall Manu Tuilagi, Mike Fitzgerald and Brendon O’Connor.
Tuilagi and Fitzgerald missed the last two games of the season, while O’Connor starts in the back row for the first time since the European Champions Cup quarter-final win over Stade Francais.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c,) 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Marcelo Bosch
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Will Evans, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Adam Thompstone
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps (3:15pm kick-off)
A Premiership first awaits at Sandy Park as Exeter Chiefs appear in a semi-final for the first time, taking on familiar rivals Wasps.
Having met twice in the league and also in the Champions Cup quarter-final there’s little one side doesn’t know about the other by now, although they have both won the respect of the neutral with their thrilling rugby on attack.
In team news Exeter head coach Rob Baxter has made changes to his winning formula.
Up front, Ben Moon and Luke Cowan-Dickie come into the front-row; Geoff Parling replaces the injured Damian Welch (knee) at lock; while Armand has recovered from an elbow injury and is preferred at number eight to Waldrom.
In the back division, Ian Whitten is given the nod at centre ahead of Sam Hill, while Olly Woodburn is also recalled at the expense of James Short, who drops to the bench.
Wasps meanwhile have recalled Frank Halai to the wing in place of Josh Bassett while Dan Robson and Jimmy Gopperth are the half-backs.
George Smith is back in the side at openside while Jake Cooper-Woolley and Carlo Festuccia start at tighthead prop and hooker respectively.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Don Armand, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Sam Hill, 23 James Short
Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley , 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Rob Miller