Eight recalled as Saints name strongest possible side for LV= Cup Final at Exeter

CONFIDENT - Saints boss Jim Mallinder (Picture: Linda Dawson)
CONFIDENT - Saints boss Jim Mallinder (Picture: Linda Dawson)
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Saints have named a strong side for Sunday’s LV= Cup Final clash against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.

Jim Mallinder had previously used the competition to blend youth and experience, but has gone with a senior 15 for this weekend’s silverware shoot-out.

The director of rugby has made eight changes to the team which secured a 26-7 success against Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens last weekend.

James Wilson, Jamie Elliott and Salesi Ma’afu, who were given last Saturday off, return to the starting line-up.

Stephen Myler, Alex Waller, Samu Manoa and Calum Clark step up from the bench, while GJ van Velze comes in for the injured Sam Dickinson.

Dickinson soldiered on against Saracens after appearing to take a knock during the game.

Some of the young guns who have served Saints well in this season’s LV= Cup competition get a chance on the bench, with Will Hooley and Ben Nutley among the replacements.

Meanwhile, Exeter have been forced to alter the side which beat Bath last weekend, with Tom James and Ian Whitten ruled out.

Fetu’u Vainikolo, the scorer of an impressive try at The Rec, and Jason Shoemark come into the team, while Ben Moon replaces loosehead prop Carl Rimmer.

Exeter Chiefs: Arscott; Vainikolo, Dollman, Shoemark, Jess; Slade, Lewis, Moon, Whitehead, Tui; Mumm, Welch; Ewers, White, Horstmann.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Rimmer, Brown, Graham, Armand, Thomas, Steenson, Naqelevuki.

Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Wilson, Elliott; Myler, Fotuali’i; A Waller, Haywood, Ma’afu; Manoa, Day, Clark, Dowson, van Velze.

Replacements: McMillan, E Waller, Mercey, Craig, Nutley, A Day, Hooley, Autagavaia.