Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs Premiership Preview

Harlequins host Exeter Chiefs at the Twickenham Stoop

Harlequins have named a team with eight changes to the side for their Aviva Premiership against the Exeter Chiefs at The Stoop on Saturday/.

There are eight changes to the starting team that played London Irish last week.

Mike Brown starts at full-back with Ross Chisholm moving to the wing; Tim Visser (knee) and Charlie Walker (concussion) have been ruled out. In the centres Winston Stanley and Jamie Roberts combine as Nick Evans is named at fly-half.

In the forwards, Dave Ward comes into the front row alongside Mark Lambert and Will Collier, with George Merrick and Charlie Matthews making up the second-row. Chris Robshaw returns to the back-row and is named with Nick Easter and Jack Clifford.

Among the replacements, Rob Buchanan will look to make his first appearance for the Club since February after recovering from a leg injury.

James Horwill, Luke Wallace and George Lowe are also ruled out due to concussions sustained last week while Joe Gray is rested.

Harlequins require a bonus point victory to guarantee their place in the Champions Cup next season, although they could also qualify if they win the Challenge Cup next week.

The Londoners only defeat in the last five fixtures in all competitions was to Saracens at Wembley in round 20 of Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Exeter Chiefs need a win to ensure that their first appearance in an Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final will be at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs last eight fixtures in the tournament have all been won by the home side on the day with the Devonians most recent away victory being at London Irish in round 13.

Exeter have won their last three fixtures against Harlequins and have been victorious on their last two visits to Twickenham Stoop.

Exeter boss Rob Baxter has rotated his playing options from that of a week ago against Wasps.

Up front, Alec Hepburn and Jack Yeandle come into the front-row, Damian Welch is added to the second-row, while an elbow injury to Don Armand means Thomas Waldrom returns at No.8. Behind the pack, Sam Hill – who came off the bench against Wasps – is given the nod over Ian Whitten in the centre, while James Short is recalled on the wing with Olly Woodburn dropping down to the bench.

Despite the reshuffle, Baxter is excited by the mix he has put together for tomorrow’s test and insists his team are in “a good place” to attack these final weeks.

“I actually think physically and mentally we have prepared very well,” continued Baxter. “We know we had a tough game at the weekend, but we are bouncing through that quite well.

“The important thing is not to get carried away about talking about a fantastic game of rugby, it’s more about us making sure we get the bits and pieces right, which is quality of defence – which was outstanding at the weekend – our physicality around the breakdown, and the basics of how hard we are prepared to work.

“Right now we’ve lots of options and a strong group of players. I am expecting them all to play a full part right through to the end of the season, and if we expect them to play a full part, then we have to trust them to come into the 23 and do a good job for us.”

The Bookies have given Exeter Chiefs a 2 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to £200 in Bonus bets.

Match : Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs
Date : Saturday 7 May
Venue : Twickenham Stoop
Kick Off : 3.30pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
Referee :Wayne Barnes (169th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton & Nigel Carrick.
TMO: Sean Davey.

Teams

Harlequins

15. Mike Brown , 14. Marland Yarde , 13. Winston Stanley , 12. Jamie Roberts , 11. Ross Chisholm , 10. Nick Evans , 9. Danny Care (C) ,1. Mark Lambert , 2. Dave Ward , 3. Will Collier , 4. George Merrick , 5. Charlie Matthews , 6. Chris Robshaw , 7. Jack Clifford , 8. Nick Easter

Replacements : 16. Rob Buchanan , 17. Owen Evans , 18. Kyle Sinckler , 19. Sam Twomey , 20. Mat Luamanu , 21. Karl Dickson , 22. Ben Botica , 23. Joe Marchant

Exeter Chiefs

15 Phil Dollman , 14 Jack Nowell , 13 Henry Slade , 12 Sam Hill , 11 James Short , 10 Gareth Steenson , 9 Dave Lewis1 Alec Hepburn , 2 Jack Yeandle (capt) , 3 Harry Williams , 4 Mitch Lees , 5 Damian Welch , 6 Dave Ewers , 7 Julian Salvi , 8 Thomas Waldrom

Replacements : 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie , 17 Ben Moon , 18 Carl Rimmer , 19 Geoff Parling , 20 Kai Horstmann , 21 Dave Lewis , 22 Ian Whitten , 23 Olly Woodburn

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