Planet Rugby

Preview: Exeter v Leicester

28th January 2011 12:40

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Boris Stankovich

Stankovich: Back to captain Leicester

Rob Baxter is hopeful his Exeter side can make it 'third time lucky' when they face Leicester in the LV= Cup at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Having faced the Tigers twice already this season in the Aviva Premiership - losing narrowly on both occasions - Baxter is confident lessons learned from those two games will ensure his team find the winning formula this time round.

"You learn some hard lessons in the Premiership and against Leicester we have learnt two hard lessons. We put an awful lot into both those games, but only came away with one point. This week we know we have to be more clinical."

With an LV= Cup encounter at Newcastle Falcons to follow next week, it's the forthcoming league fixtures against Harlequins, Newcastle and Bath which will no doubt be uppermost in the minds of Baxter and his fellow coaches.

"For us, Saturday's game is very much about us using the fixture to get a few guys up to speed again and some others who need game time. That, we believe is going to be very important running into our next block of Premiership games."

As expected, Baxter has used the match as a chance to rotate a number of his troops. Of the 15 who started last weekend's Amlin Challenge Cup tie in Montpellier, only three keep their places. They are Ben Moon and Neil Clark in the front-row, while Andrew Higgins remains on the wing.

Meanwhile, Boris Stankovich and Dan Hipkiss make their first starting appearances of 2011 as Leicester Tigers head to Sandy Park.

Loosehead prop Stankovich has made two appearances from the replacements bench since his return from a facial injury suffered in the Aviva Premiership win over Bath back in October, while Hipkiss has not played since the cup tie against the Ospreys in November.

Fifteen of the travelling squad have links with the Tigers Academy, while director of rugby Richard Cockerill also includes South African flanker Pieter Myburgh for his club debut.

The 25-year-old Myburgh has played for Western Province and gained Super 14 experience with the Stormers, and he joins Academy products Matt Everard and Dan Hemingway in the back row on Saturday.

Openside flanker Ben Woods is named among the replacements on his return from a wrist injury.

Tigers have 10 players on international duty with England and England Saxons, while Geordan Murphy (ankle), Tom Croft (shoulder), Geoff Parling (knee), Ben Pienaar (Achilles) and Lucas Amorosino (hernia) are ruled out by injury.

The teams:

Exeter: 15 Mark Foster, 14 Andrew Higgins, 13 Bryan Rennie, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Nic Sestaret, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 James Phillips, 7 Andy Miller, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Dave Gannon, 4 Chad Slade, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Ignacio Elosu, 19 Eoghan Grace, 20 Herbie Stupple, 21 Garrick Cowley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Paul McKenzie.

Leicester Tigers:15 Joe Cobden, 14 Lee Robinson, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Andy Forsyth, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Dan Hemingway, 7 Pieter Myburgh, 6 Matt Everard, 5 Ed Slater, 4 Calum Green, 3 Peter Bucknall, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Boris Stankovich (c).
Replacements: 16 Joe Duffey, 17 Camilo Parili-Ocampo, 18 Ryan Bower, 19 Dave Markham, 20 Ben Woods, 21 Luix Roussarie, 22 Stephen Macauley, 23 Rory Lynn.

Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)

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PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821