Saracenes travel to Sandy Park on Saturday to face the Exeter Chiefs in round 8 of the Aviva Premiership.
Henry Fraser previews the game…
Saracens v Exeter
Exeter form guid
Won 5, lost 2.
It has been a great start to the season for Exeter. They have had some great results, most notably away wins over Gloucester and Sale.
They are not the fanciest team or a team full of big name stars, but they are fast becoming a top premiership side. Rob Baxter made some very clever buys for this season and added real strength with experience and winners (Romano Graham, two times Super Rugby champion). They have also added players with serious fire power that can trouble opposition teams, Tom James and Fetu’u Vainikolo do just that.
They are building a very strong squad with some excellent young, English talent. They can boast five Junior World Champions in their ranks that have already impressed in the premiership. They are building a very good recipe for success.
Historically Exeter are not known for their try scoring ability, but have changed that this year. They have scored fourteen tries this season, nine of which have come at home. Sarries’ defence will have to be on top form, especially up front where the Exeter forwards have scored eleven of the teams tries this season. It’s this forward domination that earned Rob Baxter his England call up as forwards coach to Argentina.
Exeter are fifth in the try scoring charts but third in overall points scored. This is thanks to the ruthless efficiency of Gareth Steenson’s boot. He is currently kicking at 89.74% in the league and 92.86% at home. Sarries will really have to make sure their discipline is kept in check or they will be punished.
Exeter have conceded fourteen tries this season, but only four at home. But during the season they have conceded ten tries from backs, especially from wingers. The in form David Strettle could be key for Sarries.
The long trip to the West Country is always difficult, as Sarries experienced on their last visit to Sandy Park, but even tougher against an Exeter team who more than thrive at home. The battle up front will be key to this match and one that should be great to watch.
16/2/13 Saracens 31 – 11 Exeter Chiefs
23/9/12 Exeter Chiefs 14 – 12 Saracens
5/5/12 Saracens 40 – 22 Exeter Chiefs
Players to watch
Dave Ewers - As the latest to join the long line of in form English number eights, he’s fast becoming one of the best. At only 23 years old he’s a giant number eight that loves to carry a lot, and carry hard. He’s shown huge ability to run around players but also through them. One of his many season highlights will include running over one of England’s best defensive centres, Mike Tindall. No doubt he will be pushing for representative honours soon. His battle with Billy Vunipola will be one to watch!
Tom James – His move to Sandy Park has rejuvenated him. He seems to be finding the form that impressed so many when he first burst onto the scene as a youngster. He is pushing all the top stats with defenders beaten and metres gained. His size, coupled with his speed and power, makes for a tremendous combination. Shutting him down fast is key!