Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks Premiership Preview

Exeter Chiefs host Worcester Warriors at Sandy Park

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has named his team to play Sale Sharks at Sandy Park in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday.

Whilst thoughts of a potential end-of-season European Play-Off may have occupied the thoughts of many Exeter Chiefs supporters in the past week, head coach Rob Baxter insists he and his team are focused solely Sale’s visit.

With the new-look format finally sorted for next season and beyond, the Chiefs are well aware that the battle to get amongst Europe’s elite is going to go to the wire over these final three rounds.

After successive losses to both Leicester Tigers and Gloucester, Baxter’s side positioned themselves back into the crucial seventh spot with last weekend’s 38-33 victory over lowly Worcester Warriors.

The task now, however, is for Devon’s finest to remain in that position (or better) during these dying embers of the season.

Baxter is well aware of the potential prize on offer to his side and says it’s vital that the Chiefs use last week’s victory as the springboard for a big final push for points.

“Obviously we’re in seventh place at the moment and holding onto that last potential qualifying spot,” said Baxter.

“We know now there is going to be a play-off in either the one or two weeks following the end of the season for seventh place, so I suppose it’s in our hands really.”

Team news for the Chiefs sees Baxter stick largely with the personnel that were so successful at Sixways a week ago.

The sole change to the starting XV sees skipper Dean Mumm revert back into the second-row as Don Armand (ankle) is ruled out. Mumm’s switch means a recall to the ranks for Ben White on the open-side flank.

On the bench, there is also just one change as experienced prop Hoani Tui offers back-up at tight-head in place of Welsh international Craig Mitchell.

Exeter Chiefs beat Worcester 38-33 at Sixways in round 19 but have not won successive Aviva Premiership Rugby matches since November.

The Chiefs only victory in their last four encounters at Sandy Park was 18-0 over London Irish in the Premiership on 1st March.

A Sale Sharks victory will guarantee them a place in the European Rugby Champions Cup for next season.

The Sharks have lost their last two matches at home to Northampton in the European Challenge Cup and home to Harlequins in the Premiership, but have not lost three in a row since November 2013.

The Sharks have won their last four away games in the Premiership and they have never won five in succession on the road in the tournament’s’ history.

Sale’s solo victory over Exeter in their seven previous encounters came at AJ Bell Stadium on 8th February 2013. The Sharks have been defeated on all three previous visits to Sandy Park.

Match : Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks
Date : Saturday 19 April
Venue : Sandy Park,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N/A
Match Officials
Referee:
Greg Garner (64th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey and Paul Burton.
TMO: Geoff Warren.

Teams

Exeter Chiefs

15 Phil Dollman , 14 Fetu’u Vainikolo , 13 Ian Whitten , 12 Sam Hill , 11 Matt Jess , 10 Gareth Steenson , 9 Dave Lewis , 1 Ben Moon , 2 Jack Yeandle , 3 Alex Brown , 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 Hoani Tui , 19 James Phillips , 20 James Scaysbrook , 21 Haydn Thomas , 22 Henry Slade , 23 Luke Arscott

Sale Sharks

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