Youth included for all in this weekend’s LV= Cup semi finals

The LV=Cup semi finals take place this weekend with Saracens hosts Saints and Leicester hosting Exeter.

All four sides name vastly more experienced sides than they have in the early rounds, but still include a number of young and exciting players too.

Saracens v Northampton Saints takes place on Saturday at 12.30 at Allianz Park, and Saracens once again hand the armband to young Maro Itoje, who was playing for England U20 in the Junior World Championship back in June.

The young lock leads a side that includes the likes of David Strettle, Rhys Gill, and Ernst Joubert among others, with internationals in George Kruis and Kelly Brown on the bench.

Joining Itoje in the squad are a number of other young players though, including his fellow JWC winner Biyi Alo, and last year’s Millfield School star Tom Whiteley among others.

Northampton Saints meanwhile name a highly experienced side, led by the wise old head that is Phil Downson. The likes of Sam Dickinson, Samu Manoa, Alex Corbisiero, and Kahn Fotuali’i all start, with Callum Clark, Lee Dickson, and Stephen Myler on the bench.

In amongst all of that experience though there is some youth, Sam Olver starts and fly half and Tom Stephenson stars at outside centre. Both were key ben in that 2014 JWC winning squad, Stephenson even played in the Premiership final too.

The second semi final is on at 13.00 on Sunday at Welford Road between Leicester Tigers and Exeter Chiefs.

Leicester have mixed and matched their experience and youth, with Brad Thorn starting along with the likes of Matt Smith, Miles Benjamin and Blaine Scully, while on the bench Logovi’i Mulipola and Julian Salvi both wait.

In the likes of George Catchpole, a JWC winner, at outside centre and Harry Thacker at hooker, among others, they also include plenty of exciting youth.

Exeter have opted for a similar pattern, Welsh international Ceri Sweeney leads from outside half with Haydn Thomas inside him and fellow Welshman Tom James on the wing, Moray Low and Kai Horstmann feature in the pack with Gareth Steenson on the bench among others.

Youth is a feature of their side too though, perhaps the most exciting being Joel Conlon on the bench, though Sam Simmonds, starting at openside, is also a hugely exciting prospect.

They should be two excellent games of rugby, and a great chance to see a few stars of the future in action.

LV=Cup Semi Finals Fixtures:

Saracens v Saints – Saturday, 12.30, Allianz Park

Leicester v Exeter – Sunday, 13.00, Welford Road

Team News:


15 Ben Ransom

14 Mike Ellery

13 Marcelo Bosch

12 Tim Streather

11 David Strettle

10 Nils Mordt

9 Ben Spencer

1 Rhys Gill

2 Jared Saunders

3 Juan Figallo

4 Maro Itoje (c)

5 Hayden Smith

6 Nick De Jager

7 Matt Hankin

8 Ernst Joubert

16 Scott Spurling

17 Richard Barrington

18 Biyi Alo

19 George Kruis

20 Kelly Brown

21 Tom Whiteley

22 Thretton Palamo

23 Catalin Fercu

Northampton Saints:

15 Ahsee Tuala

14 Jamie Elliott

13 Tom Stephenson

12 Dom Waldouck

11 Tom Collins

10 Sam Olver

9 Kahn Fotuali’i

1 Alex Corbisiero

2 Mike Haywood

3 Salesi Ma’afu

4 Samu Manoa

5 Tom Ryder

6 Jon Fisher

7 Phil Dowson (c)

8 Sam Dickinson

16 Matti Williams

17 Ethan Waller

18 Gareth Denman

19 Ben Nutley

20 Calum Clark

21 Lee Dickson

22 Stephen Myler

23 James Wilson

Leicester Tigers:

15 Blaine Scully

14 Matt Smith

13 George Catchpole

12 Christian Loamanu

11 Miles Benjamin

10 Tommy Bell

9 David Mele

1 Michele Rizzo

2 Harry Thacker

3 Fraser Balmain

4 Brad Thorn

5 Sebastian De Chaves (c)

6 Jack Whetton

7 Robert Barbieri

8 Laurence Pearce

16 Neil Briggs

17 Tom Bristow

18 Logovi’i Mulipola

19 Tom Price

20 Julian Salvi

21 Sam Harrison

22 Terrence Hepetema

23 Adam Thompstone

Exeter Chiefs:

15 Max Bodilly

14 Fetu’u Vainikolo

13 Adam Hughes

12 Sireli Naqelevuki

11 Tom James

10 Ceri Sweeney (c)

9 Haydn Thomas

1 Brett Sturgess

2 Elvis Taione

3 Moray Low

4 Mitch Lees

5 Jerry Sexton

6 Ben White

7 Sam Simmonds

8 Kai Horstmann

16 Greg Bateman

17 Carl Rimmer

18 Alex Brown

19 Ed Holmes

20 Joel Conlon

21 Dave Lewis

22 Gareth Steenson

23 Tom Hendrickson

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