Planet Rugby

Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Cardiff Blues

11th October 2013 12:53

Share:

Fetu u Vainikolo Exeter chiefs photocall

First start for Chiefs: Fetu'u Vainikolo

Tongan international Fetu'u Vainikolo will make his first start for Exeter in Sunday's Heineken Cup clash against Cardiff Blues at Sandy Park.

Chiefs will also head into the contest buoyed by an impressive victory at Gloucester in their last outing.

Head coach Rob Baxter says that display was the "best yet" this season from his team and has asked them to replicate that showing against the visiting Welshmen.

"Finishing that first block of Premiership games with a win like that was huge for us," Baxter told the Exeter Chiefs website.

"Not only was it very satisfying results-wise, but it has given us the foundation to go out and enjoy attacking the Heineken Cup. We have talked about going after this competition as hard as we can, so to have Cardiff come down here with us on decent form is going to be hugely exciting."

Team news for the Chiefs sees Baxter forced to tweak his backline due to injuries sustained in the past week. Former Blues' winger Tom James rolled an ankle in training, so he misses out and Vainikolo comes in for his first competitive start.

The experienced Jason Shoemark returns at centre in place of Sam Hill, who picked up a knock in the latter stages of the game at Kingsholm. The promotion of Tongan international Vainikolo means his spot on the bench is filled by Fijian powerhouse Sireli Naqelevuki.

Meanwhile, centre Dafydd Hewitt is recalled to the starting line-up as Cardiff Blues.

Hewitt, who last week made his 100th appearance for the region, is named at inside centre as Cory Allen switches to outside centre for the Pool 2 opener in Devon.

Director of Rugby Phil Davies makes no further changes to the side that defeated Edinburgh last time out, with hooker Matthew Rees again captaining from the front row and making his 50th appearance in the Heineken Cup.

Fellow hooker Marc Breeze is named among the replacements and there is also a call-up for Richard Smith who could make his first appearance of the season from the bench.

Blues have won three of their last four Heineken Cup encounters with clubs across the Anglo-Welsh border.

However, Davies is aware of the size of the challenge facing his Blues against an Exeter side that warmed up for Europe with a convincing win over Gloucester last weekend.

"We know the physical battle we will face and we have got to be ready to match that," he said.

"We're trying to get intensity into our game. I know what the English league is like and how pragmatic it can be. Exeter have been that, but they have also tried to open their game up and play more expansively and they are an exciting side.

"It's eight versus eight up front and a real battle. But there are battles all over the pitch in terms of physicality, speed and power. The word intensity in the player's minds has got to be the forefront this weekend.

"This competition is all about momentum. All the Welsh regions have got match winners and players with proven ability. If we get momentum who know what can happen this season?"

Blues will be missing Owen Williams, who is ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury last week against Edinburgh, but Davies is confident a new-look midfield partnership of Dafydd Hewitt and Cory Allen can shine.

"We are lucky that Cory has had some really good game experience over the last few weeks and Dafydd has been there, seen it and done it all before. We have two guys there that will do a very good job for us."

The teams:

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 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 Sireli Naqelevuki.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Tau Filise, 2 Matthew Rees (capt), 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Richard Smith.

Date: Sunday, October 13
Kick-off: 12:45 BST
Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert (France) Sébastien Clouté (France)
Television match official: Philippe Bonhoure (France)
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London WelshSale vs London Welsh Preview
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26