Exeter Chiefs vs Bath LV Cup preview

Bath have named Lee Mears to make his first start since returning from injury, as he joins David Flatman and Anthony Perenise in the front row.


Dave Attwood and Ben Skirving form a new second row partnership, and in the back row Francois Louw shifts to the blindside, with Guy Mercer coming in on the openside. Simon Taylor completes the pack at Number 8.


Chris Cook and Stephen Donald resume their half-back partnership for the second time this season after the victory over Glasgow Warriors three weeks ago.


In the backs, Tom Biggs and Olly Woodburn continue on the wings, as Matt Banahan comes in to join Olly Barkley in the centre, and Sam Vesty moves to fullback.


Warren Fury and Richard Lane will be looking to make their first appearances for the Club from the bench, which also sees a return for Nathan Catt.


Exeter will start the match not knowing whether they will advance into the last four or not, but head coach Rob Baxter says the task remains the same.


“It’s an interesting one really,” explained Baxter. “As regards to qualification, we will probably know where we stand before kick-off on Sunday, which in itself is unusual.”


“It could be out of our hands [should Northampton claim maximum points against Wasps on Saturday], but we are not going to know for a little while yet.


“That said, I was told an interesting fact this morning that aside from Saracens, who need to score something like 12 tries in their game, we are the only other English team that is still in the hunt for a possible treble.


James Hanks, who only returned to first team duty during last weekend’s win at London Wasps following a knee injury, will skipper a Chiefs side that sees Ben Moon return to the fold after injury, as well as first starts of the season for Chris Budgen, Junior Poluleuligaga and Academy youngster Jack Arnott.


Winger Arnott, a debutant off the bench at Adams Park last time out, comes into a re-jigged Exeter back line that see Myles Dorrian take over at fly-half from Gareth Steenson, whilst Samoan star Poluleuligaga is given the nod at nine ahead of Pat Phibbs.


Up front, Moon and Budgen take over from Luke Cowan-Dickie and Craig Mitchell – both of whom are on international duty – whilst Chad Slade is another returning after injury at No.8 in place of James Phillips.


Match : Exeter Chiefs vs Bath
Date : Saturday 4th February 2012
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 5.00pm


Teams


Exeter Chiefs : 15 Phil Dollman , 14 Mark Foster , 13 Bryan Rennie , 12 Sam Hill , 11 Jack Arnott , 10 Myles Dorrian , 9 Junior Poluleuligaga , 1 Ben Moon , 2 Chris Whitehead , 3 Chris Budgen , 4 Peter Short , 5 James Hanks (capt) , 6 Dave Ewers , 7 Ben White , 8 Chad Slade


16 Tom Cowan-Dickie , 17 Ben Rogers , 18 Lloyd Fairbrother , 19 Chris Bentley , 20 Sam Blanchet , 21 Pat Phibbs , 22 Sam Jones , 23 James Lightfoot-Brown


Bath :15. Sam Vesty , 14. Olly Woodburn , 13. Matt Banahan , 12. Olly Barkley , 11. Tom Biggs , 10. Stephen Donald , 9. Chris Cook , 1. David Flatman , 2. Lee Mears , 3. Anthony Perenise , 4. Dave Attwood , 5. Ben Skirving , 6. Francois Louw (c) , 7. Guy Mercer , 8. Simon Taylor


Replacements :16. Pieter Dixon , 17. Nathan Catt , 18. David Wilson , 19. Ryan Caldwell , 20. Josh Ovens , 21. Warren Fury , 22. Nick Scott , 23. Richard Lane

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