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Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Glasgow

10th January 2014 09:15

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Sean Maitland in action for Glasgow Warriors

Wing: Sean Maitland

Gregor Townsend has named the same team that would have played against Edinburgh last week for Saturday's visit to Exeter Chiefs.

The 1872 Cup second leg was postponed on New Year's Day due to a waterlogged pitch at Scotstoun, so the same 23 players have been given another chance for the trip to Sandy Park.

After six weeks out of action with an ankle injury Sean Lamont returns on the left wing, while Stuart Hogg starts at full-back and Sean Maitland occupies the right wing berth.

Byron McGuigan and Alex Dunbar form a new centre partnership, with Ruaridh Jackson and Henry Pyrgos at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.

In the forwards Ryan Grant continues at loosehead, with Dougie Hall at hooker and Ed Kalman at tighthead.

Tim Swinson and Tom Ryder once again combine in the second row.

In the back-row Rob Harley continues on the blind-side, with captain Chris Fusaro at openside and Josh Strauss starting at number eight.

"Last week's postponement was disappointing for our supporters and for those selected to play against Edinburgh, but the upside of that is the players are fresh going into this game, having not played for more than two weeks," Townsend told glasgowwarriors.org.

"These next two games are important fixtures for the club as we aim to build momentum ahead of a very important part of the season.

"Exeter Chiefs continue to show how a good a side they are. They were unlucky to lose at Wasps last weekend and pushed Toulon close in both of their back-to-back games last month.

"They play an ambitious brand of rugby and have been consistent in their level of performance this season.

"We've not performed to the level we're capable of so far in this tournament, so we're looking to produce our best rugby over the next couple of weeks."

Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs will have a new look to their line-up as head coach Rob Baxter shuffles his pack.

Just five players - James Hanks, Tom Johnson, Dave Lewis, Henry Slade and Luke Arscott - remain in the starting line-up from that which took to the field in the narrow loss to Wasps at Adams Park last Sunday.

In what has been a testing run of games for the Chiefs, Baxter hopes a return to home comforts will help to reignite the winning spark within his side.

"First and foremost we have to concentrate on ourselves. It's nice in some ways to have a break from the Premiership because having these different cup competitions allows us to get our teeth sunk into something else. In turn it will also help get ourselves well prepped for our return to the Premiership."

With qualification into the latter stages of the Heineken Cup unlikely for the Chiefs, Baxter knows a victory this weekend and next against Cardiff Blues could be enough to see his side qualify for the latter stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup as one of the best runners-up from Europe's top cup competition.

"If we can bang in a couple of wins then the opportunity is possibly there for us still to qualify in the Amlin," said Baxter.

"In some ways qualifying for the latter stages of the Amlin through the Heineken would be a bigger achievement than if you qualified normally through the competition. There is still a lot to play for."

The teams:

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott (capt), 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Damian Welch, 3 Alex Brown, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Romana Graham, 20 Don Armand, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Ian Whitten.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Byron McGuigan, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro (capt), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 James Eddie, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Niko Matawalu, 23 Duncan Weir.

Date: Saturday 10th January
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Referee: George Clancy (Ire)
Assistant referees: Eddie Hogan-O'Connell, Kevin Beggs (both Ire)
TMO: Seamus Flannery (Ire)

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1Toulon624
2Cardiff Blues614
3Exeter612
4Glasgow Warriors611