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Preview: Harlequins v Exeter

01st March 2013 08:15

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Nick Evans Harlequins v Worcester Warriors Aviva Premiership Twickenham Stoop

Nick Evans: Back from an ankle injury

Harlequins will have the services of ace fly-half Nick Evans available to them when they host Exeter in a Aviva Premiership clash on Saturday.

Evans has been sidelined by an ankle injury but returns to action at the expense of Ben Botica who drops to the bench.

Conor O'Shea has made two further changes to the team that beat Sale last weekend. Skipper Nick Easter moves from number eight into the second row in place of Charlie Matthews with Tom Guest taking over at the back of the scrum.

Exter enter the encounter with the defending champions on a high after thrashing London Welsh 47-16 last time out.

"Last week was a very good performance from us, but now we've got to make sure London Welsh was not a one-off performance and that we show the same enthusiasm and attacking intent for the rest of the season," commented Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter.

The victory came at a price though, with prop Hoani Tui, lock Dean Mumm and centre Jason Shoemark all ruled out through injury. The trio are replaced by Alex Brown, Damian Welch and Phil Dollman respectively.

Form: After ending an unwanted run of five-consecutive Aviva Premiership loses with a 47-16 win against London Welsh last time out at Sandy Park - Exeter head to table-topping Quins this weekend looking to build some much-needed momentum. The Chiefs are currently in eighth position in the Premiership table and are seven points behind sixth-placed Northampton Saints. Exeter is one of only four sides to have beaten Harlequins in the Premiership this season - they won 42-28 in October - and are chasing a first ever league double over the Londoners. The Chiefs have lost on all three previous visits to the Stoop in all competitions

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (C), 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.

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

Date: Saturday, March 2
Kick-off: 15:15
Venue: The Stoop
Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Andrew Pearce
Television match official: Graham Hughes

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Saracens vs Worcester15:00
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Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
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PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954