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Youngsters get their chance in LV= Cup final

The LV= Cup final takes place on Sunday, with Saracens and Exeter Chiefs battling it out at Franklin’s Gardens for the first domestic silverware of the season.

Exeter name an unchanged side from their 30-22 semi final victory over Leicester Tigers, while Saracens make just one from their 24-20 defeat of Northampton Saints, with Richard Barrington starting at loosehead after Rhys Gill’s Wales call up.

Both sides blend real experience with some exciting youth. Exeter Chiefs openside Sam Simmonds is one of the brightest back for prospects in the tournament, he will be guided by experience though, with the likes of Kai Horstmann, Haydn Thomas, and Ceri Sweeney at 8, 9, and 10 respectively.

On the bench two time Junior World Championship winner Joel Conlon will later join Simmonds and co in the back row, where his physicality will be a big factor late in the game.

Saracens are led by a Junior World Championship winner, Maro Itoje. A year ago today he was playing in the U20 Six Nations, since then he has won the JWC, played for the England Saxons, captained Saracens to A league victory, and now stands to captain the full Saracens side in the LV= Cup team, an incredible rise from a player who is sure to be a big presence for years to come.

His fellow JWC winner Biyi Alo is on the bench alongside last year’s Millfield School star and HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s player of the tournament, Tom Whiteley.

Whiteley is joined on the bench by experienced heads, with the likes of Alex Goode, Kelly Brown, and George Kruis all waiting to come on. There is experience in the starting XV too, with the likes of David Strettle and Ernst Joubert starting the game.

It is sure to be a great experience for all of these young players, win or lose, as Tom Collins, named LV= Breakthrough Player of the Year earlier this week, has shown despite Saints being knocked out in the semi finals.

LV= Cup Final – Saracens v Exeter Chiefs – Saturday, 16.00, Franklin’s Gardens (Live on Sky Sports 4)

Teams:

Saracens

15 Ben Ransom

14 Mike Ellery

13 Marcelo Bosch

12 Tim Streather

11 David Strettle

10 Nils Mordt

9 Ben Spencer

1 Richard Barrington

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 Titi Lamositele

18 Biyi Alo

19 George Kruis

20 Kelly Brown

21 Tom Whiteley

22 Alex Goode

23 Catalin Fercu

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 Byron McGuigan

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