Preview: Harlequins v Exeter

Date published: May 6 2016

EXETER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Jack Nowell of Exeter Chiefs breaks the tackle of Joe Marler of Harlequins during the Aviva Premiership match between Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins at Sandy Park on November 28, 2015 in Exeter, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Harlequins have made eight changes to their starting XV that will face Exeter at the Stoop in their final Premiership game of the season.

Mike Brown starts at full-back with Ross Chisholm moving to the wing; Tim Visser (knee) and Charlie Walker (concussion) have been ruled out. In the centres Winston Stanley and Jamie Roberts combine as Nick Evans is named at fly-half.

In the forwards, Dave Ward comes into the front-row alongside Mark Lambert and Will Collier, with George Merrick and Charlie Matthews making up the second-row. Chris Robshaw returns to the back-row and is named with Nick Easter and Jack Clifford.

Among the replacements, Rob Buchanan will look to make his first appearance for the club since February after recovering from a leg injury.

James Horwill, Luke Wallace and George Lowe are also ruled out due to concussions sustained last week while Joe Gray is rested.

Ahead of Saturday’s kick-off, Exeter boss Rob Baxter has rotated his playing options from that of a week ago against Wasps.

Up front, Alec Hepburn and Jack Yeandle come into the front-row, Damian Welch is added to the second-row, while an elbow injury to Don Armand means Thomas Waldrom returns at number eight.

Behind the pack, Sam Hill – who came off the bench against Wasps – is given the nod over Ian Whitten in the centre, while James Short is recalled on the wing with Olly Woodburn dropping down to the bench.

Form: Harlequins require a bonus point victory to guarantee their place in the Champions Cup next season, although they could also qualify if they win the Challenge Cup next week. The Londoners only defeat in the last five fixtures in all competitions was to Saracens at Wembley in round 20 of Aviva Premiership Rugby. Exeter Chiefs need a win to ensure that their first appearance in an Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final will be at Sandy Park. The Chiefs last eight fixtures in the tournament have all been won by the home side on the day with the Devonians most recent away victory being at London Irish in round 13. Exeter have won their last three fixtures against Harlequins and have been victorious on their last two visits to Twickenham Stoop.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ross Chisholm, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Nick Easter, 7 Jack Clifford, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Joe Marchant

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Carl Rimmer, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Olly Woodburn

Date: Saturday, May 7
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 15:30 BST (14:30 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Sean Davey

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