Exeter Chiefs v London Wasps Preview

Exeter Chiefs 30-24 victory at Sale in round 21 ended a four game losing run in Aviva Premiership Rugby. Exeter have lost two of their last three games at Sandy Park.

London Wasps’ only victory in their last five matches in all competitions was 51-18 at home to Leeds Carnegie on 17 April.

Wasps have lost eight in succession away from home, since beating Newport Gwent Dragons 23-16 at Cardiff City Stadium in the Heineken Cup on 12 December.

Wasps won 24-12 when the two clubs met at Adams Park in round 10, but the Chiefs were victorious 29-6 when Wasps visited Sandy Park in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 6 November.

There are a number of changes to the Wasps side as Leon Holden takes charge of his final game at the club before he heads to coach a club side in Japan.

Among the changes, Nic Berry takes the number 9 shirt from Joe Simpson, who suffered a broken thumb in the build-up the last game.

On the wing Christian Wade replaces Tom Varndell, who has a knock, while Elliot Daly swaps places with Richard Haughton and moves to the wing with Haughton then named at fullback.

In the pack, Tim Payne, Richard Birkett and Sam Jones all come into the starting line-up while Joe Launchbury shifts to flanker.

It will also be a final appearance in a Wasps shirt for a number of players including Ben Jacobs, Dave Walder and Joe Ward who are all moving on next season.

Interim Director of Rugby Leon Holden said: “This weekend’s game is very important for us. We want to finish on a positive after such a disappointing performance against Bath and we owe it to our supporters to show them that we are a much better team than that.”

“We’ve tried to pick a side with a view to next season with a number of young players in the overall squad but there is a good core of experience there too.”

Holden added that he expected a tough challenge from the Exeter Chiefs. “They have had a fantastic first season in the Premiership and credit to them for that.

“This weekend will be a bit of a celebration for them for everything they have achieved this year and they will be going all out to end with a victory. Both sides want to go into the summer break with something positive to remember so we are under no illusions as to the challenge we face.”

Holden also thanked the London Wasps fans for their support this season.

“It’s been a tough season results wise but everyone appreciates the support we receive. From everyone at the club I want to say thanks to the fans for sticking by us and we’ll be doing everything we can to give them something to cheer about tomorrow.”

Exeter’s assistant coach Ali Hepher has confirmed the club would stick with the same starting XV as that which saw off Sale.

The only changes come on the bench where Ignacio Elosu replaces the unavailable Chris Budgen, who is playing for the British Army in their clash with the Royal Navy at Twickenham, and Jason Shoemark takes over from Bryan Rennie.

“We want to put in a good performance to thank the supporters, they’ve been phenomenal all season,” said Hepher. “Everyone has got behind the club and we’ve needed it. They’ve created a hell of an atmosphere at Sandy Park that’s probably the envy of most Premiership clubs.

“We should be proud of it, we’re proud of the supporters, but equally the players have produced something that makes the supporters proud of them, so it works both ways. We’d like to say thanks and send them off into the summer with some memories of a good performance at home.”

Match : Exeter Chiefs v London Wasps
Date : Saturday 7 May
Venue : Sandy Park
Kick Off : 3pm
Referee: Llyr Ap Geraint-Roberts (1st Premiership game)


Exeter Chiefs

15 Luke Arscott , 14 Matt Jess , 13 Phil Dollm

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