Preview: Harlequins v Exeter

Date published: April 13 2017

Harlequins' backline remains the same, while there are three changes to the forward pack that played Saracens at Wembley last week.

Kyle Sinckler and Charlie Matthews come in for Will Collier and George Merrick respectively, while Luke Wallace returns, after three months out, to openside flanker.

Speaking ahead of the match, Harlequins Director of Rugby, John Kingston said: “Friday sees the first of two successive home matches which are crucial in our quest to qualify for the Champions Cup next season.

"Exeter are a quality side who we know all about. We will have to be at our very best to get the result we need.”

Meanwhile, team news for the Chiefs sees Rob Baxter ring the changes, some enforced due to injury, others in a bid to keep his players fresh and fighting fit for the final run-in.

"We're pretty bumped around as you can imagine, I think last week was one of our biggest carrying games ever. I think we had 75 per cent possession and 75 percent territory, we had to battle away and we picked up some bumps and bruises,” said Baxter, who has confirmed locks Mitch Lees and Jonny Hill (both knee), plus number eight Waldrom (hand) all miss out through injury.

Up front, there is a new-look front-row of Carl Rimmer, Jack Yeandle and Greg Holmes; Geoff Parling and Dave Dennis form the Exeter engine room; while in the back-row only Don Armand remains in situe, packing down alongside the returning Dave Ewers and Kai Horstmann.

The back division, meanwhile, is largely untouched with just two changes in personnel. Italian international Michele Campagnaro gets the nod in the centre over Ian Whitten, while leading try-scorer James Short starts on the wing in place of Jack Nowell.

On the bench, there are recalls for the experienced quartet of Tomas Francis, Ollie Atkins, Julian Salvi and Sam Hill.

Form: Harlequins' 19-40 defeat to Saracens at Wembley last weekend ended their two match winning run. Quins have lost just once at home in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season: 18-27 to Leicester in round 16. Exeter Chiefs have won their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, are unbeaten in the last twelve rounds and obtained a try bonus in their last six to tie Leicester’s record set in 2012. If Exeter tally another bonus point win they will become only the second side ever to record a maximum 30 league points from six successive Premiership Rugby matches. Exeter have won their last five Premiership Rugby matches against Quins since the Londoners won 30-29 at Sandy Park in May 2014, although Harlequins did win 29-15 when the two clubs met at Twickenham Stoop in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 George Merrick, 20 Dave Ward, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Alofa Alofa

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 James Short, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Carl Rimmer
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Julian Salvi, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sam Hill

Date: Friday, April 14
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 19:45 local (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle, Paul Dix
TMO: Sean Davey

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