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Preview: Gloucester v Exeter

04th October 2013 12:29

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Dave Lewis Exeter AVP 2013

Dave Lewis: Faces his former Gloucester team-mates

Dave Lewis will make his first Exeter Chiefs start when he faces former club Gloucester in Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash at Kingsholm.

The scrum-half is one of four changes Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has made to his starting XV following last weekend's 21-9 loss at home to defending champions Leicester Tigers.

The 24-year-old, who spent six years with the Cherry and Whites before his move to Sandy Park, replaces Haydn Thomas in the number nine jersey.

Other changes see Chris Whitehead and Ben White come into the pack in place of Jack Yeandle and James Scaysbrook, whilst, at the back, the inclusion of Matt Jess on the right wing means there is a slight re-jig with Ian Whitten partnering Sam Hill in the centre.

On the bench, summer recruit Don Armand is included for the first time in place of Tom Hayes; Kai Horstmann, fresh from scoring two tries from the Braves in Monday's win at Bath, fills the void left by White and Tongan international Fetu'u Vainikolo - another who scored a brace at Bath - is given his first taste of first team action following his close season move from Connacht.

Despite the new-look squad, it is still a powerful array of talent on show from the Chiefs as they look to overcome Nigel Davies' men on home turf.

Meanwhile, second-row James Hudson will make his Aviva Premiership debut for Gloucester.

Hudson partnering skipper Tom Savage in the second-row is one of half a dozen changes to the line-up that started against Newcastle Falcons last weekend.

Props Yann Thomas and Rupert Harden both come into the front row, having been named amongst the replacements at Newcastle, to complete the changes in the pack.

Director of Rugby Nigel Davies also makes three changes in the back-line. Tavis Knoyle gets the nod at scrum-half as Davies continues to rotate his number nines, while Mike Tindall replaces Henry Trinder who tweaked a hamstring in the closing stages at Kingston Park.

Finally, full-back Martyn Thomas will make his first start of the season in place of Rob Cook.

Gloucester won by two points at Kingsholm last season, Exeter edged the return at Sandy Park by a point. Davies admits that another thriller could be on the cards.

"It should be a cracking match," he said.

"If you go off the back of our last match against them down there, which was probably one of the matches of the season, you can expect something similar as both sides like to play rugby.

"It's funny that certain sides play against each other, and there's a certain style and dynamic to the game. And all our recent games against Exeter have been tight affairs even though the rugby is quite open.

"We've sort of weathered the early storm in terms of performance and results. We've got a little bit of momentum now, players returning back to fitness, so it's a good position to be in."

Form: Gloucester Rugby began the Aviva Premiership Rugby season with defeats to Sale and Saracens, but have since turned this around with victories in rounds 3 and 4 over Northampton and Newcastle. Perhaps surprisingly the Cherry and Whites have recorded just one try bonus point in the Premiership at Kingsholm since the end of the 2010/11 season. Exeter Chiefs' two game winning run in the Premiership was halted by champions Leicester at Sandy Park on Sunday. Exeter's only reversal in their last five away games came at Northampton on the opening weekend. The six previous Premiership encounters between the two clubs have been shared evenly with three wins apiece, whilst the Chiefs only previous victory at Kingsholm in competitive rugby was 28-27 in March 2012.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Ben Morgan 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 James Hudson, 4 Tom Savage (capt), 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Jonny May, 23 Akapusi Qera.

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Carl Rimmer, 19 Don Armand, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo.

Date: Sunday, October 6
Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank and Ashley Rowden
TMO: Rowan Kitt

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