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LV= Cup Preview: Saracens v Exeter Chiefs

Byron McGuigan is hopeful Exeter Chiefs can build on their strong showings in the LV= Cup this season and clinch a home semi-final at Allianz Park on Sunday.

The Chiefs have made an impressive start to their title defence, three wins from three seeing them through to the knock-out stages at the earliest possible opportunity.

Last week’s 37-32 win at Newport Gwent Dragons followed home victories over Gloucester Rugby and Bath Rugby and they will travel to London with confidence, having beaten Saracens in Aviva Premiership Rugby earlier in the season.

McGuigan is aware of how strong Saracens’ home record is, but he is confident an incisive Exeter have the keys to unlock the fabled ‘wolf pack’ defence and bring the Chiefs victory.

“Saracens is never an easy game, especially away from home,” he said. “I’ve not played there but they seem to get the results there, it’s a real fortress for them, so this week will be really tough.

“It’s a really good opportunity for the youngsters and the boys last week really put up their hands, it was a good result away from home.

“Right across the back line there’s so much talent. Adam Hughes had an awesome game last week, Tom James has lots of attacking weapons and good speed so if we can get the ball out wide, hopefully we can grab a couple of tries.”

Saracens have also won all three of their LV= Cup matches this season, though their lack of a bonus point in any of them leaves them just two points clear of second-placed Gloucester in Pool 1.

A win against the Chiefs will guarantee Mark McCall’s side reach their third successive LV= Cup semi-final, having lost on their travels at that stage for the last two years.

Saracens scrum-half Ben Spencer says his side is relishing the challenge of a high-stakes game against the reigning champions, with their tails up after last week’s 20-15 win at London Welsh.

“Sunday is huge, as the winner can book a home semi-final,” he told Ham & High. “That gives any side a great advantage going into the final four.

“They are the holders, and have been performing very well in this season’s competition. It’s a massive game for us, and this group of players.

“Sunday will be another huge test for us. The Chiefs always put out strong sides and are playing some very good rugby at the moment.

“They have added more aspects to their game plan in recent seasons and they’ll pose a big threat to us.”

Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.

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