Stuart Hogg winning fitness race for Champions Cup quarter-final

Scotland captain on track for Exeter’s clash with Northampton after hip injury

Sunday, 13th September 2020, 10:34 pm
Stuart Hogg is expected to be available for Exeter as the Chiefs look to reach the Champions Cup semi-finals. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images

Exeter and Saracens expect to enter their Champions Cup quarter-finals with two key players available after revealing Stuart Hogg and Mako Vunipola are winning their fitness battles.

Double winners Saracens emerged with a 40-17 victory from their Gallagher Premiership clash with Exeter at Allianz Park yesterday, sweeping aside a similarly-inexperienced team as the clubs rested their stars ahead of next weekend’s European action.

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Scotland captain Hogg hurt his hip in a 35-22 victory over Gloucester on Wednesday but the former Glasgow full-back is on track to be in contention for Exeter’s knockout collision with English rivals Northampton on Sunday.

“Stuart should be fine. He was running yesterday (Saturday) before we left Exeter,” Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter said.

“It wasn’t flat out but the fact he’s running already means he should be running by Tuesday or Wednesday.”

Vunipola has been absent since 15 August because of a back spasm but Saracens boss Mark McCall is considering him for the starting line-up for Saturday’s clash with Leinster in Dublin.

Despite missing the last six rounds of the Premiership, Vunipola could be thrust straight into his club’s most important game of the season at the expense of Richard Barrington.

“We are hopeful and expect Mako to be available. We have to weigh it up because Richard has been playing really well. We will make that decision as the week goes on,” McCall said.

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