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Rugby: Saracens' Barritt fit for Premiership final

PUBLISHED: 18:49 31 May 2019

Saracens' Brad Barritt (pic: Paul Harding/PA)

Saracens' Brad Barritt (pic: Paul Harding/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Saracens will enter the final assignment of their double quest with Brad Barritt present at inside centre following his recovery from a hamstring problem.

Barritt will lead the reigning European and English champions into Saturday's Gallagher Premiership final against Exeter at Twickenham after once again demonstrating his extraordinary healing powers.

The 32-year-old hobbled off inside the opening half hour of the play-off rout of Gloucester and was expected to be ruled out against Exeter, but has proved his fitness to be retained in an unchanged starting XV.

Barritt is among the toughest players in the Premiership and has a long history of overcoming injury to take part in big games.

The former England centre last season played against Leinster just days after having a titanium plate inserted into his left cheekbone, while last month he overcame a substantial ankle problem to lead the charge against Munster in the European semi-finals.

Nick Tompkins scored a hat-trick against Gloucester after replacing Barritt and was on standby to deputise once again.

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Director of rugby Mark McCall told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's all been about this home straight of the seaosn for the past eight to 10 weeks, but seeing it as a new and fresh challenge.

"Some of our performances against Gloucester was good, but some of the other play was genuinely not what we wanted it to be.

"I think Exeter are a great side and they're a club we've got huge respect for. They're in their fourth final with huge match experience and that's what it's a very fresh challenge for us.

"But we're hoping that experience of play-off matches so far this season stands us in good stead. But it will mean nothing if we don't turn up and perform on the day."

Exeter have also named an unchanged side for their bid to wrestle back the Premiership crown that they surrendered to Saracens last year.

Teams, Saracens: Goode; Williams, Lozowski, Barritt, Maitland; Farrell, Spencer; Barrington, George, Koch, Skelton, Kruis, Itoje, Wray, B Vunipola. Replacements: Woolstencroft, Adams-Hale, Judge, Isiekwe, Rhodes, Wigglesworth, Tompkins, Strettle.

Exeter: Nowell; Cuthbert, Slade, Devoto, O'Flaherty; J Simmonds, White; Moon, Yeandle, Williams, Dennis, Hill, Ewers, Armand, Kvesic. Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Hepburn, Francis, Skinner, S Simmonds, Maunder, Steenson, Hill.

Referee: Wayne Barnes.

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