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WILL THE BEAST FROM THE EAST BEAT THE BEST OF THE WEST?


By Darraghgirl
March 1 2018

  I can’t think of any other sport where this would be allowed to happen. The top 2 teams, the National Champions v the European Champions, and the game takes place during the International window when both teams are without their best players. And not once but TWICE this season. Sometimes this game we love really does shoot itself in the foot!  

But seriously, there are 8 premiership weekends in the season where clubs are without their England players. Is it really beyond the wit of man to ensure that this doesn’t affect the same tie twice (home and away). And going further, would it not be possible to protect these key encounters and schedule them outside the International window? Don’t the fans deserve that at least? (Oops sorry, I forgot, since when did the RFU give a damn about supporters of club rugby!)

But we are where we are so this Saturday sees Exeter Chiefs welcome Saracens to Sandy Park (the Beast from the East and Storm Emma permitting). The top 2 clubs in the premiership meet again with Sarries looking to get revenge for their home defeat to the Chiefs in November. A win could see Sarries going back to the top of the table (although it would need to be a very good win!), defeat could see Wasps leap-frogging Sarries into second place. Apparently the game is a sell-out.

Sarrries will be looking to put behind them that dire performance at home to Leicester last Sunday while Exeter hauled themselves out of the doldrums with a 1 point victory over Saints (also at Sandy Park). Exeter are hopeful that Henry Slade and Sam Simmonds may return from injury along with Dave Dennis, although Jack Nowell and Harry Williams will remain with England. But even without these guys, the Chiefs team looks very solid featuring a back row of Thomas the Tank Waldrom in his final Premiership season, Don Armand, who really ought to be in the England squad, and Julian Salvi or Matt Kvesic, both quality players. The metronomic Gareth Steenson will kick his goals and Chief’s backline oozes danger and try-scorers with the dangerous Ollie Woodburn and Ian Whitten on the wings and Sam Hill and Ollie Devoto in the centres. Chiefs also potentially have England’s future in their hirsuite front row with Luke Cowan-Dickie and Australian-born but England-qualified Alec Hepburn supported by real Aussie Greg Holmes.

Sarries are down to the bare bones what with International call-ups and injuries (a third broken arm last week – you wouldn’t credit it would you!). Still we must be grateful for small mercies and Eddie has kindly let us have George Kruis back. We can also call upon Liam Williams and Sean Maitland (if he has come down off the ceiling after last Saturday). The big debate is do we play Max Malins, who showed such promise in his 2-try cameo last week, perhaps at the expense of Marcelo Bosch who has been a bit off-form recently. I expect that Max will be on the bench as I think Smally will give most of last week’s 15 the chance to redeem themselves but who knows.

So I would expect Sarries to turn up looking something like this: - Goodey at 15, Williams and Maitland on the wings (please not Earle after last week), and Brad and Bosch again in the centres (unless Superdunc is feeling better). Loz and Spencer should team up again at half back with Spencer again taking on kicking duties (Loz seems to play so much better without that burden). The front row will presumably be Schalla alongside Baz and Figallo (or just possibly Titi). I suspect Kruis or Isiekwe will need to move to the backrow along with Burger (the old man having to put in another big shift) and the dependable Jackson Wray leaving Dom Day to partner the other one at lock. Given Chief’s back-row I have to say the breakdown worries me!

Matt Carley has the whistle but please note everyone there is a pitch inspection on Friday afternoon to see if the game can go ahead. And do you know what? Wouldn’t it be good if the game could be postponed until both teams have their internationals back!

Oooh just noticed we've signed Blair Cowan as back-row cover! I assume he'll go straight into the team!

UPDATE - GAME NOW 15.00 ON SUNDAY 4th!!

 

 

 

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WILL THE BEAST FROM THE EAST BEAT THE BEST OF THE WEST?
TheSaracens.com (IP Logged)
01/03/2018 16:03
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:03:25:19:17:30 by Darraghgirl.

 
Re: WILL THE BEAST FROM THE EAST BEAT THE BEST OF THE WEST?
AP (IP Logged)
02/03/2018 09:32
Don't Premier Rugby decide the fixtures? If so, it's a bit unfair to blame the RFU for the scheduling! In a way, it's fairer if both games between two sides are affected by the international call ups. But I agree, it's a ridiculous way to run a professional sport and it needs sorting out.

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Re: WILL THE BEAST FROM THE EAST BEAT THE BEST OF THE WEST?
Westrock (IP Logged)
03/03/2018 13:37
Mitesh suggests that Sarries prefer games against top sides during international periods

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Re: WILL THE BEAST FROM THE EAST BEAT THE BEST OF THE WEST?
Highbury Saracen (IP Logged)
05/03/2018 20:13
This is on other thread
Its ok if they are losing lots of players too

European champions 2016 & 2017

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