Planet Rugby

Preview: Exeter v Worcester

02nd November 2012 07:55

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SKY_MOBILE Ed Shervington

Ed Shervington: First start of the season

Worcester coach Richard Hill has rung the changes for his side's clash with the Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

Hill has made a total of five changes to the team that defeated Sale Sharks 23-16 on home soil last week.

In the front row, hooker Ed Shervington and prop Ceri Jones are both handed their first starts of the league campaign.

Elsewhere in the pack, Dean Schofield returns to captain the team in the second row while Chris Jones is rewarded for his good form off the bench last time out with a starting berth at the back of the scrum.

There is one change in the back division where dynamic wing Josh Drauniniu makes a welcome return to action. Drauniniu will face his former club alongside centre Josh Matavesi who also makes a first appearance.

Matt Mullan is named among the replacements after spending time in the England training camp this week.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for us to climb the table at Exeter. They're one point ahead of us in the league but it will be a very tough match. I'm a big admirer of what they have achieved and the club," said Hill.

"In their last two Aviva Premiership home games they've beaten Harlequins and Saracens so they're not very easy to beat at Sandy Park. We know how tough a game it will be for us.

"They've lost their last three games in all competitions though so one or two doubts might start to creep in their heads. They'll be thinking they've got to beat us and they'll have a bit of pressure on them so we've got to try and capitalise on any uncertainty."

The Chiefs came up short against Bath last week and are looking to arrest a slide that has seen them lose their last three encounters. Despite the poor run of form, assistant coach Ali Hepher insists that it's not all doom and gloom for Exeter.

"Mentally I don't think we were quite there in that first half last week," admitted Hepher.

"However, it showed in the second half, when we were on our game, that we can cause sides a lot of trouble. You could argue we could - and possibly should - have scored more tries in that second half, but generally we were pleased with that performance and with the way we have been performing recently.

"Now we hope to have a continuation of that this weekend in what we know will be another tough game against Worcester. All week we've emphasised to the guys that they need to turn up in the right frame of mind to get anything out of the game. As always we've tweaked parts of our game based on the opposition, but the main aim will be for us to continue making Sandy Park a tough place to come and play and making sure our mental approach is right coming into the game."

The dangerous Sireli Naqelevuki returns to the Exeter line-up in place of the injured Jason Shoemark in one of four changes to the team that lost to Bath.

The three further changes are all in the pack with Chris Whitehead replacing Simon Alcott at hooker while Aly Muldowney joins skipper Tom Hayes in the second row. With Tom Johnson on international duty, Dean Mumm switches to the flank.

Form: Exeter Chiefs have suffered three successive defeats in all competitions. The Chiefs are the only side who remain with a 100% home winning record in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season. Worcester Warriors have won their last three games in all competitions. The Warriors have won just once on the road in the Premiership since April 2009: 6-0 at London Wasps on New Year's Day 2012. Exeter have taken both previous Premiership encounters between the two clubs, whilst Worcester's last win over Exeter was 25-14 at the County Ground in National One on 20 March 2004.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas,8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Tom Hayes (capt), 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark,17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 James Hanks, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Ian Whitten.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Chris Jones, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Dean Schofield (c), 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 James Currie, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Semisi Taulava, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.

Date:Saturday, November 3
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
Referee: David Rose

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