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Exeter Chiefs v London Wasps Premiership Preview

Exeter Chiefs host London Wasps at Sandy Park

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Article Published: Friday 30 November 2012

Exeter Chiefs will put their unbeaten home record in the Aviva Premiership on the line when they host London Wasps at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Having seen off Sale Sharks, Saracens, Harlequins and Worcester Warriors at Sandy Park this term, Exeter's assistant coach Ali Hepher wants his side to at least replicate those displays against a much-improved Wasps line-up.

"It's another big game for us," admitted Hepher. "Right now it's an interesting season and there is not a lot to choose between many of the clubs. For us our home form has been fantastic - and that was something we highlighted from last season - but equally away form has not been so good.

"Hopefully last Sunday's win at London Irish has got that sorted and we can look to push forward. Right now we've got some good fixtures to go and attack and we know if we perform in those fixtures, we can push ourselves even further up the table."

For the Chiefs to succeed in their quest, Hepher says the team must stick to their "core basics" and "focus firmly on their own performance".

Buoyed by their first-ever win at the Madejski Stadium, the Chiefs see little reason to tinker with their winning formula and head coach Rob Baxter has named an unchanged 23 for tomorrow's match.

Part of that victorious line-up was winger Jack Nowell, who will get another chance on the right wing after impressing many on his Premiership debut a week ago.

Among those keen to see more of the 19-year-old back is Baxter, who said: "To be fair to Jack, he did very little wrong and he got an awful lot right. He had a very good start.

"He went out there, got after the game, got involved and did his pieces very well. I was very pleased with his performance, it was just what he needed to put in and just what we wanted from him."

Up against Cornish youngster and Nowell tomorrow will be one half of the Premiership's current deadliest finishers, Christian Wade. The England flyer, along with fellow wingman Tom Varndell, have bagged 13 tries between them in the league this season and pose the biggest threat to Exeter's unblemished home record in the top division.

Hepher is well aware of the threat the duo pose, but says the Chiefs can ill afford to concentrate all their attentions on just those two performers.

He continued: "Those two players have scored a lot of tries, so they are a major threat. However, they also have a good set-piece; their line-out functions well and they are very physical, so there are not too many weaknesses in their side.

In terms of form, Exeter Chiefs have won their last four games in all competitions and are unbeaten at Sandy Park in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season.

London Wasps last eight matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day.

Wasps have not won away from home in the Premiership since they visited Worcester on 28 October 2011.

The Chiefs have won their last four encounters with Wasps in all competitions, whilst the Londoners are yet to taste victory in three previous visits to Sandy Park.

London Wasps have named a trio of players who have been on international duty in recent weeks including Prop Zak Taulafo, who impressed for Samoa in a strong Autumn campaign with his country and , starts at loosehead this weekend, while England's Tom Palmer packs down in the second-row.

Italy's Andrea Masi also returns and is named on the bench with Lee Thomas coming in at inside centre in the only change to the backline from last weekend's win over Leicester Tigers.

Wasps are searching for a first away win in the league this year on the back of some very positive home form.

Director of Rugby Dai Young said "Exeter are a very good team and are very difficult to beat but there is no reason why we can't go to Sandy Park and get a victory. We were pleased with our win last weekend but we are going to have to be better this Saturday down in Exeter. We are going to have to be more accurate."

Match : Exeter Chiefs v London Wasps
Date : Saturday 1st December
Venue : Sandy Park
Kick Off : 5.30pm
Live on: N/A
Match Officials
Andrew Small ( Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Peter Huckle, Gareth Copsey.


Exeter Chiefs

15 Luke Arscott , 14 Jack Nowell , 13 Phil Dollman , 12 Jason Shoemark , 11 Matt Jess , 10 Gareth Steenson , 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook , 6 Dean Mumm , 5 James Hanks , 4 Tom Hayes (capt) , 3 Carl Rimmer , 2 Chris Whitehead ,1 Brett Sturgess

Replacements : 16 Simon Alcott , 17 Ben Moon , 18 Hoani Tui , 19 Aly Muldowney , 20 Tom Johnson , 21 Kevin Barrett , 22 Ignacio Mieres , 23 Sireli Naqelevuki

London Wasps

15 Hugo Southwell , 14 Tom Varndell , 13 Elliot Daly , 12 Lee Thomas , 11 Christian Wade , 10 Nick Robinson , 9 Joe Simpson , 8 Billy Vunipola , 7 Jonathan Poff , 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel , 4 Tom Palmer , 3 Phil Swainston , 2 T Rhys Thomas ,1 Zak Taulafo

Replacements :16 Tom Lindsay , 17 Simon McIntyre , 18 Will Taylor , 19 James Cannon , 20 Sam Jones , 21 Charlie Davies , 22 Tommy Bell , 23 Andrea Masi

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