Planet Rugby

Preview: Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs

27th December 2013 12:19

Share:

Jason Shoemark Exeter Chiefs

Starting: Jason Shoemark

Jason Shoemark starts at centre for Exeter Chiefs as they prepare for Saturday's Premiership clash with Harlequins at Twickenham Stadium.

The Chiefs have tweaked their line-up slightly with England international Tom Johnson returning to the back-row at the expense of Kai Horstmann and Shoemark also replacing Sam Hill. However, Horstmann is retained in the match-day 23 as he replaces Don Armand on the bench.

Scrum-half Haydn Thomas, meanwhile, is poised to make his 150th league appearance for the club, while Gareth Steenson is now just five points away from going second on Exeter's all-time list of points' scorers in league rugby. He is currently four points behind Andy Green's tally of 1,085, but is still some way short of Tony Yapp's record of 1,526.

"Over the years we've tended to finish the season strongly, but what we can't do is let teams get too far ahead of us because it will become too difficult in the long run," said Director of Rugby Rob Baxter.

"At the moment we're right in the battle, a point off where we'd like to be, which is the top four, but at the same time there are a couple of teams below us who are fighting to get above us.

"Ultimately the top half is where you have to stick because that is what gives you the big European games, which are very important to us, and if you are in the top six, you then have to be aiming for the top four because if you're not, you aren't showing the ambition you'd expect."

Meanwhile, there are just three changes to the Harlequins side that played Bath last week as centre Tom Casson, scrum half Danny Care and tighthead prop Will Collier return from injury to start.

Care, Mike Brown, Nick Evans, George Robson, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter have participated in all Big Games to date and will all make their sixth appearance in the annual festive fixture.

Form: Harlequins 3-14 loss at Bath on Saturday ended a four game winning run in Aviva Premiership Rugby. 'Quins have won the last four outings they have played at Twickenham Stadium since Saracens beat them there on 27th December 2011. Exeter Chiefs 16-3 victory at home to Newcastle in round 10 ended a five game losing run in all tournaments. The Chiefs have not won on the road since an 18-16 victory at Sale in the Premiership on 1st November. Exeter have made four previous appearances at Twickenham, all in finals of various national cup competitions, but unfortunately have lost on each occasion. The two clubs have already met this season with the Chiefs winning 19-5 at Sandy Park in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November. Exeter also won both Premiership encounters between the two clubs in the 2012/13 season.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeadle, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Brett Sturgess, 18 Alex Brown, 19 James Hanks, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo.

Date: Saturday 28th December
Venue: Twickenham Stadium
Kick-off: 1600 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle (Eng)
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Roy Maybank (both Eng)
TMO: David Grashoff

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs CastresToulouse vs Castres Preview
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs GriquasPumas vs Griquas Preview
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Preview
Hawkes Bay vs TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Preview
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00