Planet Rugby

Preview: Exeter v Wasps

30th November 2012 06:14

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Tom Varndell Try Saracens

In form: Tom Varndell

Exeter Chiefs will put their unbeaten home Premiership record on the line on Saturday when they host Wasps.

Buoyed by their first-ever win at the Madejski Stadium, the Chiefs see little reason to tinker with their winning formula and head coach Rob Baxter has named an unchanged 23 for the match.

Reflecting on that success, Baxter said he was delighted to have laid those records to bed and hopes his side can climb the table and challenge the top four.

"To get a couple of monkeys off our back, like our first away (league) win and our first win at the Madejski, is quite a big thing for us at this stage of the season. It was a very good day for us, especially considering how the other results went," he said.

"We really targeted an away win because you can see from the way the table lies, it's the side that breaks the cycle of winning, losing, winning, losing that are going to start moving up the table. It's great to have got that win, we worked hard for it and focused on it for quite a long period of time."

Meanwhile, London Wasps welcome back a trio of players who have been on international duty in recent weeks, for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash.

Prop Zak Taulafo, who impressed for Samoa in a strong November campaign with his country, starts at loosehead this weekend, while England's Tom Palmer packs down in the second-row.

Italy's Andrea Masi also returns and is named on the bench, with Lee Thomas coming in at inside centre in the only change to the backline from last weekend's win over Leicester Tigers.

Wasps are searching for a first away win in the league this year on the back of some very positive home form.

"Exeter are a very good team and are very difficult to beat but there is no reason why we can't go to Sandy Park and get a victory. We were pleased with our win last weekend but we are going to have to be better this Saturday down in Exeter. We are going to have to be more accurate," said Director of Rugby Dai Young.

Form: Exeter Chiefs have won their last four games in all competitions and are unbeaten at Sandy Park in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season. London Wasps last eight matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day. Wasps have not won away from home in the Premiership since they visited Worcester on 28 October 2011. The Chiefs have won their last four encounters with Wasps in all competitions, whilst the Londoners are yet to taste victory in three previous visits to Sandy Park.

The teams:

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (capt), 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Simon Alcott, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Hoani Tui, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James Cannon, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Andrea Masi.

Date: Saturday, December 1
Kick-off: 17:30
Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Gareth Copsey
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion

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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411