Preview: Exeter v Bordeaux-Bègles

Date published: November 20 2015

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Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has rung the changes to his starting XV for Saturday's Champions Cup clash with Bordeaux-Bègles at Sandy Park.

There is a new-look front-row made up of Ben Moon, Jack Yeandle and Moray Low, while behind Geoff Parling is poised for his first start for the club having recovered from a groin injury. In the back-row Ben White and Tom Johnson are both handed their first starts of the season.

Behind the forwards, England star Henry Slade is shunted from the centre to fly-half, Sam Hill and Ian Whitten provide the midfield pairing and there are starts for Phil Dollman at full-back and Olly Woodburn on the wing.

Exeter assistant coach Ali Hepher is confident there will be a response from the Chiefs as they look to get their campaign back on track.

Undone 25-13 by the Ospreys in Round One, the Chiefs know this latest match-up against their French visitors is vital if they are to stand any chance of progressing out of Pool Two this season.

The Chiefs have spent this past week reviewing in detail their disappointing display at the Liberty Stadium, one in which Hepher admitted the Devon club had been found wanting in certain areas.

However, never a team to get carried away by victory or defeat, the Chiefs have responded brightly in training and a response of sorts is expected against their Top 14 counterparts, who themselves sat out their opening round encounter with Clermont following last weekend’s tragic events in Paris.

"You have to win your home games anyway, so nothing has changed on that front," said Hepher.

"You’d like to pick up the odd away win and that is how you get out of groups, but first and foremost, you have to win your home games.

"We've really focused on ourselves this week. We’ve looked at the game in detail and tried to get a real understanding of where we made our errors.

"We've done that now, rectified them, and now we’re looking to move on again.

"It's only a week ago since we beat a very good Leicester Tigers side here, so we know we’re not a bad side by any means.

"We just need to reset ourselves, concentrate on what we do really well and bring that on Saturday."

Meanwhile, Bordeaux-Bègles have made two changes to their starting line-up despite having last weekend's match against Clermont postponed due to the terror attacks in Paris.

Amongst the backs, Yann Lesgourgues replaces Heini Adams at scrum-half while, up front, Steven Kitshoff comes in at loosehead prop for Jean-Baptiste Poux.

Form: This will be the first meeting between the sides in European competition. Exeter Chiefs are still yet to record a win against a French team in the Champions Cup (L4). Exeter Chiefs have won two of their six home matches in the Champions Cup, however they have scored just 19 points in their last two matches on home soil. This will be Bordeaux-Bègles first match in the Champions Cup against English opposition; their previous opponents have all been from either Wales, Ireland or France.

The teams:

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Tom Johnson, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Ben White, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Moray Low, 2 Jack Yeandle (capt), 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Don Armand, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Michele Campagnaro.

Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Metuisela Talebulamaijaina, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Loann Goujon, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Louis Madaule, 5 Jan Andre Marais (c), 4 Julien Le Devedec, 3 Patrick Toetu, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Sébastien Taofifenua, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Adam Jaulhac, 20 Marco Tauleigne, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Romain Lonca, 23 Charles Brousse.

Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 19:15 GMT
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Greg Morgan (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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