Planet Rugby

Preview: Exeter v Harlequins

05th October 2012 11:43


Karl Dickson Feb 2012

Starting for Quins: Karl Dickson

Defending Premiership champions Harlequins have made two changes to their starting XV to face Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Following last week's loss to Saracens and with one eye on next weekend's clash with Biarritz in the Heineken Cup, Karl Dickson starts ahead of Danny Care at scrum-half.

In the forwards, Mark Lambert makes his first start of the season, at loose head, with Joe Marler covering from the bench.

On other news from the Stoop, George Lowe had surgery on Friday to remove a bone fragment from his ankle. The Harlequins centre is due to return in around six weeks.

Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs' head coach Rob Baxter says his team will have to produce a "big performance" if they are to overcome defending champions Harlequins.

Undone 30-8 at Leicester Tigers a week ago, Baxter is hoping for an immediate riposte from his side as they prepare to welcome Conor O'Shea's men to Sandy Park for the third time in the top flight.

"We know they are a very good side, who have developed a swagger about themselves and who are confident," said Baxter.

"They're confident in the way they play and they've developed all areas of their game. They are certainly exciting across the board and they play high tempo rugby, which is backed up with a good set-piece, so that is what makes them dangerous.

Skipper Tom Hayes and James Scaysbrook - both of whom were due to feature in their 50th consecutive Premiership appearance for the Devon club - have both been given the weekend off, as has fellow forward Chris Whitehead. That means coming into the pack are Australian international lock Dean Mumm (for his Chiefs debut), flanker Ben White and hooker Simon Alcott (first Premiership start).

Behind, there are also changes where Gareth Steenson takes over in the number 10 jersey from Ignacio Mieres and Phil Dollman is given the nod ahead of Sireli Naqelevuki in the midfield. On the bench, Neil Clark appears for the first time this season, whilst Academy product Dave Ewers has also been called up following some notable performances for the Braves.

Despite the changes, Baxter admits it's an exciting blend of talent at his disposal and he is looking for his side to kick on further in the league, before then moving on to back-to-back dates in Europe against Leinster and Clermont Auvergne.

"We are pretty much on track in terms of where we want to be," said Baxter.

"Obviously we would have liked to have beaten both London Welsh and Northampton, but you have to take the reasons for it on the chin and look to move forward. As always we are learning as we go along and this week is yet another important game for us."

Form: Exeter Chiefs' only win in their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures was 14-12 at home to Saracens a fortnight ago, whilst the Chiefs only defeat at Sandy Park since February was 15-18 to Northampton on 22 April. Harlequins seven game winning run in the Premiership came to a halt at home to Saracens on Sunday. Quins are unbeaten in their last five away games in the tournament. The Chiefs only win so far over Harlequins in the Premiership came at Sandy Park on 12 February 2011.

The teams:

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter(c), 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Simon Alcott, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.

Harlequins:15 Mike Brown, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c) 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert,
Replacements:16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Danny Care, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Date: Saturday, October 6
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Gareth Copsey
Timekeeper: Matthew Peters
Assessor: Ed Morrison

  • Aviva Prem Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
Saturday , December 20
Sale vs Exeter14:00
Harlequins vs Newcastle15:00
Northampton vs Leicester15:00
Gloucester vs Bath15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
  • Aviva Prem Results
Recent Results
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Aviva Prem Table
Aviva Premiership Table
5Leicester Tigers821