Preview: Exeter v Bath

Date published: November 7 2014

Exeter have handed Byron McGuigan a debut at home to Bath as the Chiefs look to make it two from two in their defence of the LV= Cup.

Exeter have handed Byron McGuigan a debut at home to Bath as the Chiefs look to make it two from two in their defence of the LV= Cup.

They narrowly escaped with a win over Gloucester last time out, thanks to Haydn Thomas’ last-gasp try, and it’s a strong side that will be charged with beating Bath at Sandy Park.

Dean Mumm once again captains the side, while Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Thomas Waldrom and Dave Ewers are all included having trained with England in recent weeks.

However, despite the win over Gloucester last time out, Chiefs backs coach Ali Hepher believes his side can perform a lot better, and will have to against a strong Bath team.

“Points-wise, it was a good start and we got the win, but I think there was quite a bit with the performance that we can improve,” said Hepher.

“We’ve tried to address that through this week – and it’s important we do as Bath are in good form right now.

“They are going to look to come down here themselves and look to back up their own five-point win from last week. Right now we’re both in good positions, but if you want to qualify you have to win your home games and then try and pick up some points on the road later in the season.

“Looking at the weekend, it should be a great game; it’s a local derby; and we’re all pretty excited about it.”

Bath have made six changes to their team after their comfortable win over London Welsh in round one.

The most significant is the return of Leroy Houston from suspension, as Bath start to build their back stocks back up.

Youngster Charlie Ewels will skipper the side in the second row, where he will be partnered by Dom Day, while Gavin Henson will be pulling the strings from fly-half once more.

There’s also a return to his former club for Luke Arscott, who swapped Sandy Park for the Rec over the off-season and will start at full-back.

The teams:

Exeter:15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Moray Low, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Ben White, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Adam Hughes

Bath: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Richard Lane, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Micky Young, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Max Northcote-Green, 6 David Sisi, 5 Charlie Ewels (c), 4 Dominic Day, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn 17 Nick Auterac 18 Kane Palma-Newport 19 Tom Ellis 20 Stuart Hooper 21 Peter Stringer 22 Max Clark 23 George Wacokecoke

Date: Saturday, November 8
Kick-off: 16:30 GMT
Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle (England), Andrew Pearce (England)
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion (England)
Assessor: Jerry Wallis (England)