Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks Premiership Preview

Exeter Chiefs host Harlequins at Sandy Park

Sale Sharks have named an unchanged team for their final Aviva Premiership round against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Steve Diamond has named an unchanged starting lineup with Nathan Hines and Mark Cueto making their final appearances before retiring. There is one change to the bench, with Mark Easter coming in.

Ahead of the game Steve Diamond said, “We’ve got a lot to play for. We’re in an unlikely position where if we win the game, and get a bonus point, against one of the top performing teams, we could, if results go our way, get into sixth spot!

“Since Christmas we’ve lost two or three crucial games – whether that is the quality of the squad, or the opposition playing better than us on the day is debatable. We will be disappointed if we don’t make into the Champions Cup.”

As it stands Exeter Chiefs will probably require a bonus point victory to give themselves a chance of a semi-final berth – less if other results go their way.

The Chiefs only defeat at Sandy Park in any tournament since mid-September was at the hands of Gloucester in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 3rd January.

Sale Sharks must win to keep themselves in the hunt for a European Champions Cup spot in 2016/17, and even then it may still not be enough.

The Sharks have been triumphant only once on the road since November: 52-12 at London Welsh in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 15th February.

The two sides have met on nine previous occasions in the tournament, with Exeter taking the first five and Sale three of the last four.

The Sharks only previous win at Sandy Park came in round 20 last year with a 55-12 scoreline, comfortably Exeter’s biggest ever reversal at the venue.

England international Jack Nowell returns to the fray having sat out last weekend’s match at Allianz Park against Saracens.

He returns in place of Byron McGuigan at full-back, whilst up front Dave Ewers misses out on the clash with a head injury, so Don Armand – back to full fitness – comes in to fill the number six jersey.

The game will also mark the final home game for Aussie international and club captain Dean Mumm, who is set to return to the Waratahs this summer after three seasons in England.

Exeter head coach Rob Baxters’ view on the final day reckoning is somewhat simple ‘what will be, will be’ – and whatever the outcome he know the 2014/15 season has again be one to savour for everyone in the Westcountry.

“Getting to an LV final, a semi-final in Europe, the boys have worked extremely hard for all of that,” said Baxter.

“The way I like to look at this weekend, having an opportunity to be involved in a game like this is a reward and a reward for all the hard work we’ve put in. What you have to do with rewards is take them with both hands and then further things come.

“As I said, the team have to hit the pitch in the right mind and what will be, will be. I just want us to be proud of what we have done on this day and other bits and pieces will take care of themselves. I’m not going to get in a war of words with what happens with Leicester and Northampton. Northampton have won the league and they deserve to do what they want to do. What we have to do is talk about ourselves and what we can do, it’s that simple.”

Match : Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks
Date : Saturday 16th May
Venue : Sandy Park,
Kick Off : 3.30pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :
Wayne Barnes (155th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank and Roger Baileff.
TMO: Geoff Warren.

Teams

Exeter

15 Jack Nowell, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Ben White, 6 Don Armand, 5 Mitch Lees, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Max Bodilly, 23 Byron McGuigan.

Sale

15 Tom Arscott, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.

Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mike Haley.

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