Preview: Exeter v Wasps

Date published: November 21 2014

Exeter Chiefs travel to Wasps on Saturday hoping for a repeat of their victory over Premiership leaders Northampton a week ago.

Exeter Chiefs travel to Wasps on Saturday hoping for a repeat of their victory over Premiership leaders Northampton a week ago.

The game will mark the 100th league appearance for full-back Phil Dollman, who earlier this week committed his future to the Chiefs by agreeing a new two-year deal.

Not surprisingly, Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has stuck with an almost unchanged match-day squad for Saturday’s showdown. The sole change comes in the pack where Dave Ewers – returns after missing last week’s win – he comes in at blindside flanker for Ben White.

“The truth is I’m a little concerned going into this weekend,” said Baxter.

“History has shown this season that we haven’t bounced through good performances very well. By that I mean, our last victory against a top four, top five side was Harlequins, yet we then followed it up with one of our poorer performances when we went to Newcastle the following week

“Our battle as a developing Premiership team is how does the Quins performance or how does the Northampton performance become more like the norm rather than something you get every now and again. That’s what the top four teams do very well.

“Wasps obviously feel pretty confident with the way they’re playing. They’ve got a good squad and have a lot of them fit and are not unduly burdened by internationals being away,” added Baxter.

Meanwhile, Wasps boss Dai Young has made three changes to his starting side ahead of this Saturday’s game at Sandy Park.

James Haskell is ruled out, having been named to start for England against Samoa, and Sam Jones starts in his place. The other two changes see Bradley Davies and Lorenzo Cittadini return to the side, after appearing for their countries in recent weeks, to take starting spots in black and gold.

On the bench, Guy Thompson gets a place among the substitutes as back row cover and Charlie Davies returns from injury to take a place on the bench as the replacement scrum half.

“Exeter are currently sitting second in the Aviva Premiership table and that is not by chance. They are a very well-balanced side, who are very physical but also play a good brand of rugby when they attack,” said Young.

“Both teams go into the game on the back of good results and we have to focus on ourselves and producing the kind of performance we know we are capable of.”

Form: Exeter Chiefs beat top of the table Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday, and have lost just one of their last five matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby: 24-29 at Newcastle in round 5. The Chiefs have won their last five encounters at Sandy Park in all tournaments. Wasps equalled their highest ever Premiership Rugby score and set a record for their biggest Premiership Rugby victory in overcoming London Welsh 71-7 on Sunday. Wasps only defeat in their last four matches in the tournament was at Sale in Round 4. Wasps have lost their last five away games in the competition since winning 13-11 at Worcester in March. Wasps’ 19-16 victory at Adams Park in their most recent meeting with the Chiefs was their first win over the Devonians since December 2010. Wasps have lost on all five previous occasions they have visited Sandy Park in all tournaments.

The teams:

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 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 (c), 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Moray Low, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Byron McGuigan.

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell (c), 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 John Yapp, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Tom Varndell

Date: Saturday, November 22
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Thomas Foley
Television match official: Rowan Kitt
Timekeeper: Laurie Bryant