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Two Lions return as Saracens and Exeter name sides for first game in a year

By PA
Luke Cowan-Dickie /PA

England internationals Luke Cowan-Dickie and Elliot Daly will return from injury lay-offs in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership clash between Exeter and Saracens.

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Both players missed England’s Autumn Nations Series campaign last month, but feature in the starting line-ups this weekend.

Exeter hooker Cowan-Dickie has not played since suffering an ankle injury seven weeks ago. He will pack down in Chiefs’ front-row alongside Alec Hepburn and Josh Iosefa-Scott.

Daly, meanwhile, starts on Saracens’ left wing in his first appearance since the British and Irish Lions’ second Test defeat against South Africa four months ago.

He underwent surgery on returning home to resolve a stress fracture.

Daly, who has won 52 England caps, took part in Saracens’ warm-up ahead of their Premiership appointment with Sale Sharks last weekend, hinting at a likely return against Exeter.

Saracens are currently second in the league – seven points above Exeter – in their first season back in English rugby’s top flight after being relegated last year and fined more than £5million for persistent salary cap breaches.

The teams meet at Sandy Park in what is a first Premiership game between them since September 2020.

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Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter said: “As everyone knows, it’s a big fixture for both sides.

“But equally, we have to leave what’s happened in the past behind us and look to move on.

“Like ourselves, Saracens want to be competing in and around that top end, winning Premierships, so we’ve got to relish occasions like this, enjoy playing in these big fixtures and get our heads fully around playing in these pressure scenarios.”

EXETER CHIEFS:
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Jack Nowell
13 Henry Slade
12 Ian Whitten
11 Tom O’Flaherty
10 Joe Simmonds
9 Jack Maunder
1 Alec Hepburn
2 Luke Cowan-Dickie
3 Josh Iosefa-Scott
4 Jonny Gray
5 Jonny Hill
6 Dave Ewers
7 Don Armand
8 Sam Simmonds

REPLACEMENTS:
16 Jack Yeandle
17 James Kenny
18 Sam Nixon
19 Richard Capstick
20 Jannes Kirsten
21 Sam Maunder
22 Harvey Skinner
23 Tom Hendrickson

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SARACENS:
1 Mako Vunipola
2 Ethan Lewis
3 Vincent Koch
4 Maro Itoje
5 Nick Isiekwe
6 Jackson Wray (cc)
7 Ben Earl
8 Billy Vunipola
9 Aled Davies
10 Alex Goode (cc)
11 Elliot Daly
12 Nick Tompkins
13 Alex Lozowski
14 Alex Lewington
15 Max Malins

REPLACEMENTS:
16 Kapeli Pifeleti
17 Eroni Mawi
18 Alec Clarey
19 Tim Swinson
20 Theo McFarland
21 Andy Christie
22 Ivan van Zyl
23 Dom Morris

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