Exeter’s job to stop the Saracens juggernaut

Unstoppable?: Richard Wigglesworth, Schalk Brits, Maro Itoje and Kelly Brown celebrate Saracens' European Champions Cup triumph.
Unstoppable?: Richard Wigglesworth, Schalk Brits, Maro Itoje and Kelly Brown celebrate Saracens' European Champions Cup triumph.
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Exeter boss Rob Baxter 
accepts the Chiefs will need to “physically and emotionally” challenge European champions Saracens in Saturday’s Aviva 
Premiership play-off showdown.

A repeat of last season’s Premiership final sees Exeter aiming to book a second successive Twickenham appearance, while Saracens – who will be without injured captain and England centre Brad Barritt – are two wins away from completing a league title hat-trick.

Back-to-back European and domestic trophy doubles are also in their sights, and Exeter head coach Baxter knows the size of his team’s challenge at Sandy Park.

“I think our ball-carrying, our ball retention and our set-piece has been particularly good in attack over a large part of the season, and we’ve got to make sure that holds itself up,” he said.

“Obviously, defensively we have to control the gain-line when Saracens are coming at us, and being decisive in our decision-making is going to be very important because Saracens traditionally put a lot of pressure on teams who beat themselves by being indecisive and second-guessing themselves.

“The truth is, they’ve had a tough game (the European Champions Cup final six days ago), so we have to play in a way that physically and emotionally challenges them.

“What Saracens have shown is they are very good at recharging their batteries physically and emotionally, so it is a challenge.”

Exeter are unbeaten in the Premiership since Bath toppled them almost seven months ago, but they drew and lost the two regular season games against Saracens this term.

“I think we learnt from not dealing with the final last season as well as we could have done,” added Baxter.

“The things you have to do day-by-day to look like possible champions, and I think we’ve addressed a lot of those things. That makes me feel like we’ve got a great chance.”

Wales captain and British and Irish Lions forward Alun Wyn Jones will make his comeback from injury when the Ospreys face Guinness PRO12 play-off opponents Munster.

The Ospreys skipper has not played since suffering a shoulder injury while on Wales duty.