Willi Heinz will skipper Gloucester for their Gallagher Premiership semi-final against Saracens. Only Charlie Sharples retains his place in the starting line-up from last week’s game away at Sale Sharks.
It is the Cherry and Whites first appearance in the Premiership semi-finals since the 2010-11 season when they faced Saracens, their opponents again on Saturday.
The teams have already met twice this season, with both teams winning their respective home fixture. It will also be the third time that they have met at the semi-final stage – one win apiece.
15. Jason Woodward; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Tom Marshall; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater, 5. Franco Mostert; 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Jaco Kriel, 8. Ben Morgan
16. Mike Sherry, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Tom Savage, 20. Lewis Ludlow, 21. Jake Polledri, 22. Ben Vellacott, 23. Henry Purdy
Saracens are looking to make the Gallagher Premiership final for a fifth time in six seasons.
Mark McCall has made two changes to the XV that started the Heineken Champions Cup final win over Leinster a fortnight ago – both enforced.
Props Richard Barrington and Vincent Koch replaced Mako Vunipola (hamstring) and Titi Lamositele (ankle) after 29 minutes at St James’ Park and produced monstrous displays to help Sarries regain the European title.
This weekend’s match is set to be a big day for centre Nick Tompkins. He will make his 100th Saracens appearance when he enters the field of play – a remarkable achievement for the 24-year-old.
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) May 24, 2019
Mike Rhodes has recovered from his back complaint to take the number 20 shirt and Academy loosehead Ralph Adams-Hale will look to make an impact on his 10th first team outing.
15. Alex Goode, 14. Liam Williams, 13. Alex Lozowski, 12. Brad Barritt (c) 11. Sean Maitland, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jamie George, 3. Vincent Koch, 4. Will Skelton, 5. George Kruis, 6. Maro Itoje, 7. Jackson Wray, 8. Billy Vunipola
16. Joe Gray, 17. Ralph Adams-Hale, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Nick Isiekwe, 20. Mike Rhodes, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Nick Tompkins, 23. David Strettle
Exeter face Northampton just a week on from the two locking horns at Sandy Park – the Chiefs won that encounter 40-21.
Not surprisingly, Director of Rugby Rob Baxter sticks with a virtually identical team to that which beat the Saints. The sole change in the starting line-up sees Tom O’Flaherty get the nod over Olly Woodburn on the wing, while on the bench Alec Hepburn is recalled at the expense of Billy Keast.
“We’ve made a point of not talking about finals or what’s happened in the past. We’ve made a point of talking about Northampton and this weekend, nothing else”, Baxter said.
Despite last weekend’s victory, Baxter says his side can ill afford any kind of complacency within the ranks.
“If you have any kind of complacency, it’s going to hurt you,” added Baxter. “What I’ve seen this week, though, is a group of our players on our part who not only look focused and ready, but who are genuinely excited about playing and delivering a performance in a Premiership semi-final.”
15. Jack Nowell, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ollie Devoto, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Joe Simmonds, 9. Nic White; 1. Ben Moon, 2. Jack Yeandle (capt), 3. Harry Williams, 4. Dave Dennis, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Don Armand, 8. Matt Kvesic
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Alec Hepburn, 18. Tomas Francis, 19. Sam Skinner, 20. Sam Simmonds, 21. Jack Maunder, 22. Gareth Steenson, 23. Sam Hill.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) May 24, 2019
Director of rugby Chris Boyd has made four changes to his Northampton Saints side which are hoping to seal their first return to the Premiership Final since 2014’s historic triumph.
All of Saints’ changes come in the pack with Teimana Harrison set to skipper the side in the No.8 jersey.
Lewis Ludlam remains at flanker, but Courtney Lawes has been shifted into the back row alongside him with Api Ratuniyarawa returning to the engine room to join Alex Moon.
Meanwhile Francois van Wyk, James Fish, and Ehren Painter all come into the front row to start, with Painter playing his first league match since February.
Northampton stick with the same back line that started last weekend’s clash at Sandy Park, with Ahsee Tuala continuing at fullback and Tom Collins and Taqele Naiyaravoro named on the wings.
Wales international Dan Biggar wears the No.10 jersey while Cobus Reinach starts at scrum-half, having scooped the Northampton Saints Supporters’ Player and Players’ Player of the Season awards at last night’s End of Season dinner at Franklin’s Gardens.
Rory Hutchinson and Piers Francis complete the line-up in the centres, with Saints opting for a six-two split on the bench as David Ribbans, Tom Wood, and Jamie Gibson are all named amongst the replacements.
15. Ahsee Tuala, 14. Tom Collins, 13. Rory Hutchinson, 12. Piers Francis, 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Cobus Reinach; 1. Francois van Wyk, 2. James Fish, 3. Ehren Painter, 4. Alex Moon, 5. Api Ratuniyarawa, 6. Courtney Lawes, 7. Lewis Ludlam, 8. Teimana Harrison (c)
16. Darren Dawidiuk, 17. Alex Waller, 18. Paul Hill, 19. David Ribbans, 20. Jamie Gibson, 21. Tom Wood, 22. Alex Mitchell, 23. Luther Burrell
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