Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Ospreys

Date published: January 22 2016

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Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has made 13 changes to his starting line-up for the Champions Cup clash against Ospreys at Sandy Park on Sunday.

Among those getting a chance to impress again are young lock Jonny Hill, who made his European debut a week ago, while Dave Lewis keeps his place at scrum-half after a notable showing. 

On the bench, Harry Williams is included for the first time in a Chiefs first team squad, whilst try-scorer in Bordeaux, Max Bodilly, offers cover in the back division.

"We will select a different team because you would expect there to be a different team based on fitness etc," said Baxter. 

"But we are in a different scenario. We had a few guys who were out who are now fit and we had some guys who were rested who are ready and we also had some guys who did very well against Bordeaux. We will select the team which best suits what we want to do, which is win the game and settle back into the Premiership. 

"A season isn't built game by game. You do focus on what needs to happen that weekend to win but you also focus on what moves you forward as a squad and a team. Yes, it will focus on what we want to achieve this weekend but also on how we move forward as a squad and how the players are going."

Meanwhile, Osprey's coach Steve Tandy has made just the one change as prop Dmitri Arhip replaces Aaron Jarvis.

Dan Baker will make his 50th Ospreys appearance if he comes off the bench, while Owen Watkin will make his European Cup debut if he does the same.

"We've worked extremely hard to put ourselves into the position we are in going into the final round of fixtures knowing that we have our fate in our own hands…win and we go through to the quarter-finals," said Tandy. 

"We realise there aren't many people who would have backed us to get to this point at the start of the season and we have to be pleased that we've done enough to get to this point. Nobody is getting carried away though. We are all well aware that possibly the toughest part of the job is still ahead of us on Sunday.

"Exeter are a great club who have established themselves at the top of the English game, with an outstanding record at home in particular. They haven't lost at theirs in over a year, that's the size of the challenge ahead of us this weekend."

Form: Exeter have won four of their five matches against Welsh opposition in the Champions Cup, although they lost 25-13 to the Ospreys in Round 1. A win for Exeter would see them undefeated at home in the pool stage for the first time in the Champions Cup. A win for the Ospreys would see them top Pool 2 and reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2010. Ospreys haven't won an away fixture in the Champions Cup since beating Viadana 62-7 in December 2009. Ospreys are without a win in their last nine away European matches against Aviva Premiership opposition (D1, L8), dating back to January 2007. 

The teams:

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Tom Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Kai Horstmann, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Jonny Hill, 3 Alex Brown, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Max Bodilly

Ospreys: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Jonathan Spratt, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Underhill, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones (c), 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Paul James
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Rory Thornton, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Thomas Habberfield, 22 Sam Davies , 23 Owen Watkin

Date: Sunday, January 24
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: Salem Attalah (France), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Hervé Dubes (France)

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