Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall insists his side will not be motivated by their feisty rivalry with Exeter Chiefs ahead of the trip to Sandy Park.

The two face off for the first time since September 2020 after Saracens’ return to the Gallagher Premiership following their demotion amid the salary cap scandal.

Chiefs - who lost to Sarries in the 2018 and 2019 finals - have been one of their most outspoken critics after the club were also fined over £5million for cap breaches, but McCall suggested his side will not be going overboard in their preparation for Saturday’s clash.

He said: “I think we try to keep it on an even keel. We try not to hype things up too much.

“We want to be a really consistent team who don’t pick and choose when we get more motivated than when we don’t.

“There are obviously games certain individuals are going to really enjoy getting up for, and for some people that might be Exeter.

“Our motivation is very inward in lots of ways. We’ve got a really good group who care a lot about what they do and a lot about each other, and that has served us well down the years.”

England and British & Irish Lions star Elliot Daly is included in the Saracens starting line-up for the first time since he returned from South Africa in the summer.

After recovering from a stress fracture that has kept him sidelined for the past four months, the versatile back slots in on the left wing for his first game since the Lions’ second Test defeat against the Springboks.

The 29-year-old will be aiming to help his side keep pace at the top of the Premiership table, with Sarries currently sitting second, six points behind unbeaten pace-setters Leicester Tigers.

Daly’s former England colleague Billy Vunipola has found some form of late, and the No.8 will go head-to-head with last year’s Premiership Player of the Season Sam Simmonds in a mouth-watering match-up in Devon.

McCall revealed Vunipola, who was deemed surplus to requirements by England head coach Eddie Jones during the Autumn Nations Series, is the emotional heartbeat of his side.

The 54-year-old added: “It is a series of games that Billy has put together.

“He has been playing 80 minutes for us every week, he is in great shape, he is playing really good rugby.

“He kind of sets the emotional tone for the team, and I’ve no doubt that he will be right at the heart of that again on Saturday afternoon.”