Planet Rugby

Preview: Exeter v Wasps

13th September 2013 10:47

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SKY_MOBILE Chris Bell London Wasps

Returning captain: Chris Bell

Exeter Chiefs have made one change to their starting line-up to face London Wasps at Sandy Park this weekend.

The sole change sees England Under-20s star Sam Hill come into the centre for his first-ever Premiership start with Ian Whitten moving to the wing at the expense of Matt Jess.

In turn Jess drops to the bench to fill the void left by Hill, whilst Welsh international Craig Mitchell is preferred to Carl Rimmer as one of the two options at prop on the bench.

In what was a disappointing opening day for the Devon club, the Chiefs suffered a 38-11 loss to Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens.

It was the first time Baxter's side had experienced a loss first up in the top flight - and the Chiefs leader says a week of hard work on the training field, together with some detailed analysis should have been sufficient to put things right this weekend.

"If anything it's been easier preparing the guys this week," said Baxter.

"Simply because the truth is an under-performance often concentrates the mind a little bit more. For us, we've had a really good training week and we've looked to move on straight away.

"We don't get too panicky if we win or lose because the thing about the Premiership is that one thing you can guarantee is that at some stage you will lose games of rugby.

"Going away and losing at Northampton is by no means a big disgrace, what we are disappointed in is that we didn't do ourselves justice in the first half, and that's taken nothing away from Northampton because they were better than us on the day and we just have to accept that.

"All we have to do is improve our level of performance and make sure we're better the week after. We have kind of done that the time we have been in the Premiership - and we'll make sure we concentrate on doing that now."

Meanwhile, London Wasps captain Chris Bell has recovered from injury to take his place in midfield.

Bell's return is one of three changes to the starting side who lost narrowly at Twickenham last weekend, with Ashley Johnson also coming into the back-row and Josh Bassett replacing the injured Tom Varndell on the wing.

"Exeter's loss last weekend will certainly have focused their minds and we know that at home they will be a different proposition," said Director of Rugby Dai Young.

"We were disappointed to come out on the end of a loss last weekend in a game we could have won and the boys have worked very hard this week and are looking forward to this trip."

Form: Exeter Chiefs tripped up at Northampton on Saturday and suffered their largest Aviva Premiership Rugby reversal since a trip to the same venue in October 2011. The Chiefs have never begun a Premiership campaign with a pair of losses. London Wasps were defeated by the narrowest of margins at Twickenham on Saturday to record a ninth successive defeat in all competitions. Wasps have not won away from home since a trip to the Twickenham Stoop to face Harlequins last February. Exeter have won their last six matches against Wasps in all competitions, whilst the Londoner's only previous Premiership victory over the Devonians was 24-12 at Adams Park in December 2010.

The teams:

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Sam Hill, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Tom Hayes, 20 Ben White, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Matt Jess.

London Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Chris Bell (c), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Sam Jones (capt), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James Cannon, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Ben Jacobs.

Date: Saturday, September 14
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 15.00 BST (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Martin Fox

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