Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers Premiership Preview

Exeter Chiefs host Gloucester at Sandy Park

Leicester Tigers have named their team to play Exeter Chiefs in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership at Sandy Park and have included Ben Youngs in the starting side.

Scrum-half Youngs will play for the club for the first time since the Rugby World Cup after recovering from an ankle injury.

He lines up in a team captained by older brother Tom, who leads Tigers in league action for the first time.

Jordan Crane makes his first starting appearance of the season in the back row, while Dom Barrow starts at lock after making his Tigers debut as a replacement in the win over Wasps last Sunday.

Telusa Veainu, a try-scorer on his debut last Sunday, is at full-back with Mathew Tait among the replacements.

Opeti Fonua has been ruled out for 6-8 weeks after suffering an arm fracture in the match against Wasps, but Laurence Pearce returns to the matchday squad this week.

Exeter Chiefs have won their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby matches tallying six tries in each and conceding just one in total.

The Chiefs have been beaten just once at Sandy Park in the tournament since round 2 last season: 26-25 by Gloucester on 3rd January.

Leicester Tigers have made their best start to an Aviva Premiership season since they also won their opening three fixtures in 2008/09.

The Tigers have lost just one regular season away game in the tournament since January: 6-22 at Saracens in April.

Leicester have won their last six Premiership Rugby fixtures against Exeter with The Chiefs only two victories over Tigers in the tournament both being in season 2011/12.

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says that he tomorrow’s Leicester Tigers visit will be ‘acid test’ for his Exeter Chiefs side so far this season.

Baxter admits his side have done plenty of homework on their rivals, including picking the brains of former Tigers, Geoff Parling, Julian Salvi and Thomas Waldrom, but in truth it’s his own side’s display that is uppermost in his mind.

“We have to concentrate on ourselves and not get distracted that it’s Leicester Tigers in town,” added Baxter. “What we have to do is concentrate on ourselves, especially as it has been a short turnaround week.

“In a way that can sometimes help refocus your mind because you know you have less on-field time to prepare. Therefore you have to maximise that by getting your little bit and pieces right as quickly as you can.

“Yes, we’ve looked at them in detail this week and we’ve talked to the guys that have played for them in the past. It would be a little bit naive not to ask for their opinion. They’ve told us a few things, but at the same time there has been a fair bit of changes to their coaching set-up, so there will be elements that are relevant, but a lot of it has changed.

“As I said, we’re not going to brainwash ourselves into thinking something is coming. Instead, we’ll deal with what is coming in front of our faces and there will be lots of challenges there on Saturday for us to deal with.

“Leicester, we know, will prepare very well – they always do – and they’ll bring something new that they feel will hurt us. They’ll also have plans to try and control what we do, but I want us to be confident the plays we carry out can be forced on them and that we’re successful in what we do, both in attack and in defence.”

Certainly Exeter’s cause will be buoyed by the return of England international Jack Nowell to their back division. The Cornishman was forced to sit out last week’s game against the Falcons, but he returns in a starting XV that shows two changes.

He takes over on the right wing from Matt Jess, who drops to the bench, whilst the other change sees Ian Whitten come into the centre alongside Henry Slade with Sam Hill also reverting down to the replacements.

Up front, Exeter’s pack of forwards remain unchanged and include a powerful back-row trio of Dave Ewers, Salvi and Don Armand, who picked up the man of the match award at Newcastle a week ago.

Match : Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers
Date : Saturday 7 November
Venue : Sandy Park,
Kick Off : 5.30pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
Referee :Greg Garner (85th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton and Ross Campbell.
TMO: Geoff Warren.


Exeter Chiefs

15 Phil Dollman , 14 Jack Nowell , 13 Henry Slade , 12 Ian Whitten , 11 James Short , 10 Gareth Steenson (capt) , 9 Will Chudley , 8 Don Armand , 7 Julian Salvi , 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees , 3 Tomas Francis , 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon

Replacements ; 16 Jack Yeandle , 17 Alec Hepburn , 18 Moray Low , 19 Ollie Atkins , 20 Thomas Waldrom , 21 Dave Lewis , 22 Sam Hill , 23 Matt Jess

Leicester Tigers

15 Telusa Veainu , 14 Adam Thompstone , 13 Matt Smith , 12 Seremaia Bai , 11 Vereniki Goneva , 10 Owen Williams , 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane , 7 Lachlan McCaffrey , 6 Tom Croft , 5 Sebastian de Chaves , 4 Dom Barrow , 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Fraser Balmain

Replacements : 16 Harry Thacker , 17 Riccardo Brugnara , 18 Tiziano Pasquali , 19 Mike Fitzgerald , 20 Laurence Pearce , 21 Jono Kitto , 22 Peter Betham , 23 Mathew Tait

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