Preview: Leicester v Exeter

Date published: March 13 2015

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International quartet Robert Barbieri, Brad Thorn, Blaine Scully and Christian Loamanu return to the Leicester Tigers team for Sunday's LV= Cup semi-final against Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road.
 
All four sat out the Aviva Premiership win at Newcastle Falcons last weekend but return as Tigers and Chiefs contest a place in the final of this season's knockout competition.
 
"We've had a good mix in the Cup with young players coming in and taking their opportunities alongside some of the more senior players," said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
 
"Their energy has been very important in the camp and now they have another opportunity with a place in the Final for the winners."
 
Scully starts at full-back, with Matt Smith and Miles Benjamin recalled on the wings. Tommy Bell teams up with David Mele in the half-back positions.
 
In the forwards, Thorn joins captain Sebastian De Chaves at lock, while Jack Whetton comes in to start alongside Barbieri and Laurence Pearce in the back row.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs team features no less than six full internationals.

Welshman Ceri Sweeney skippers the side from fly-half, whilst he is joined by experienced names such as Brett Sturgess, Moray Low, Ben White, Kai Horstmann, Haydn Thomas, Sireli Naqelevuki, Tom James and Fetu’u Vainikolo.

"Each year the squad is getting stronger and stronger," Exeter skills coach Ricky Pellow told the Exeter Chiefs website.

"I think it’s credit to the recrutiment and the strides we are making as a club that this year we’re competing on three different fronts.

"Going to Leicester, we know, will be tough and we’ve talkd about their strengths all week. They have a very strong set-piece, experienced players, their pitch is alot smaller than ours and they like to play the game at their tempo. For us, what we have to do is make the game about our strengths and take as much as we can away from their game.

"That means individually and collectively we have to work hard to do that, but as we know it’s a great opportunity for all of us to do well and get to another final."

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Blaine Scully, 14 Matt Smith, 13 George Catchpole, 12 Christian Loamanu, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Tommy Bell, 9 David Mele, 8 Laurence Pearce, 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Jack Whetton, 5 Sebastian De Chaves (c), 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Logovi'i Mulipola, 19 Tom Price, 20 Julian Salvi, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Terrence Hepetema, 23 Adam Thompstone.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Max Bodilly, 14 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Sireli Naqelevuki, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney (c), 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Sam Simmonds, 6 Ben White, 5 Jerry Sexton, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Moray Low, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Joel Conlon, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Tom Hendrickson.

Date: Sunday, March 15
Venue: Welford Road, Leicester
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee:  Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Ian Tempest
TMO: David Grashoff

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