Planet Rugby

Preview: Exeter v London Welsh

22nd February 2013 10:35

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Tyson Keats of London Welsh

Scrum-half: Tyson Keats

London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones has made three changes to his side ahead of their Aviva Premiership visit to Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

Two of those changes come in the backs with Seb Jewell and Tyson Keats replacing Sonny Parker and Alex Davies respectively.

In the forwards, Greg Bateman is named at tighthead in place of Paulica Ion. Dan George, Martin Purdy and Rob Lewis are on the bench.

The Exiles will be hoping to bounce back from their 26-25 defeat to Sale Sharks last Sunday at the Kassam Stadium.

The last time Welsh and the Chiefs met, the Exiles secured their first-ever Premiership win with a 25-24 victory at the Kassam in September - Seb Jewell converting Ed Jackson's late try.

The Exiles have therefore won the last two meetings between the two sides - the other being a 16-15 win in the Championship play-offs in April 2010 in a game played at Esher.

Sandy Park, however, hasn't been the happiest of hunting grounds for Welsh in the past, with the Exiles without a win in their previous five visits.

In team news for the Chiefs, Rob Baxter has made a handful of changes to his starting line-up from that which took to the field at Allianz Park last Saturday.

Carl Rimmer and Jack Yeandle come into the front-row; skipper Tom Hayes returns in the second-row and Ben White, injured last week, is also a starter in the Exeter back-row.

For Yeandle it signals a first-ever Premiership start for the former Doncaster Knights forward; whilst White's inclusion means Richard Baxter reverts back to his more traditional position of number 8.

Behind, Haydn Thomas takes over from Will Chudley at scrum-half and there is a change in the midfield where Sireli Naqelevuki returns in place of Ian Whitten.

On the bench, back-row forward Dave Ewers is also back for the first time since injuring himself in November. There he is joined by Neil Clark, Ben Moon, Alex Brown, Damian Welch, Will Chudley, Ignacio Mieres and Phil Dollman.

Form: Exeter Chiefs are winless in their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches since beating London Wasps at Sandy Park on 1 December. The Chiefs are without a victory in their last two Premiership games at Sandy Park and have never gone three home games in a row without a win in the competition. London Welsh have won only one of their last ten encounters in all competitions since early December: 62-5 at home to Prato in the European Challenge Cup on 12 January. The Exiles' solitary away win in the Premiership so far came at Sale in round two. London Welsh won the only previous Aviva Premiership Rugby encounter between the two clubs, 25-24 at Kassam Stadium in round three. Welsh have never won in five previous visits to Sandy Park, whilst their most recent victory on Exeter soil was 24-18 at the old County Ground in National One on 28 October 2000.

The teams:

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Ben White, 5 Dean Mumm, 4 Tom Hayes (capt), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Phil Dollman.

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Seb Jewell, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Julio Cabello Farias, 6 Adam Balding, 5 Matt Corker, 4 Jonathan Mills (capt), 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Martin Purdy, 20 Michael Hills, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 Gordon Ross, 23 Sonny Parker.

Date: Saturday, February 23
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce, Peter Huckle
Television match official: Matthew Peters

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