Exeter vs Northampton LV= Cup final preview

Exeter Chiefs have named Fetu’u Vainikolo on the wing for their Anglo Welsh LV= Cup final against Northampton Saints at Sandy Park on Sunday.

Vainikolo comes in for Tom James on the right wing, with Matt Jess making the switch to the opposite wing while Jason Shoemark starts at 12.

On the bench Romana Graham takes over from the injured Hanks and Don Armand is preferred to James Scaysbrook and Fijian force Sireli Naqelevuki offers back-up out wide.

Exeter Chiefs Head coach Rob Baxter says nothing less than an “80-minute performance” will be enough for his side who, taking the Championship double-header out of the equation, have lost their four previous national cup finals.

Indeed, the last time they won a cup was in 1996 ” when Baxter himself held aloft the Devon Senior Cup for the eighth season in a row.

“We’re very excited and looking forward to the game because this is what we need to be doing,” said Baxter.

“I just said to the guys today, we don’t need to beat Northampton four times or whatever to win the trophy, it’s about the 80 minutes this weekend, that’s what cup finals are all about.”

“What we have to do is walk out onto our own pitch and put in an 80-minute performance. We were pretty good last time against the Saints here, but now we have to be a bit better. “

“Let’s go out and play in a way that we are happy with and gives us the chance to force a win. That is what you have to do in a final ” you have to go out and win it.”

Meanwhile Northampton Saints coaches have rung the changes for Sunday’s final.

Over 40 players have seen action in the Saints’ LV= Cup campaign so far this season, and defence coach Alan Dickens admitted during the week that selection had been difficult for this weekend’s showcase.

In the backs James Wilson and Jamie Elliott come in at centre and wing respectively after missing the semi-final win over Saracens, with Stephen Myler swapping with Will Hooley at fly half, the latter dropping to the bench.

Up front there are returns to the starting line-up for props Alex Waller and Salesi Ma’afu, lock Samu Manoa and back rowers Calum Clark and GJ Van Velze.

Ethan Waller, Tom Mercey, James Craig and Ben Nutley all begin the game as replacements, along with Ross McMillan, Alex Day and Fa’atoina Autagavaia.

Match : Exeter Chiefs vs Northampton Saints LV= Cup Final
Date : Sunday, March 16th, 2014
Venue : Sandy Park Exeter
Kick Off : 3:00pm
Live on: Sky Sports 3
Match Officials
Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Paul Dix
Television match official: Geoff Warren
Timekeeper: Matthew Peters
Assessor: Chris White


Exeter Chiefs

15 Luke Arscott, 14 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 1 Ben Moon, 2 Chris Whitehead, 3 Hoani Tui, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 5 Damian Welch, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 8 Kai Horstmann

Replacements : 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Romana Graham, 20 Don Armand, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki

Northampton Saints

15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 James Wilson, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson (capt) 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.

Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Et

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