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Preview: Exeter v London Irish

28th February 2014 09:49

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SKY_MOBILE Hoani Tui - Exeter Chiefs prop

Hoani Tui: In the Chiefs starting XV

Exeter have been boosted with the news that tighthead prop Hoani Tui will line up against London Irish at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Tui is in the starting XV despite pulling out of the action early in last weekend's 23-10 loss to Saracens. There will be a first-ever Premiership start for Exeter's Cornish hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, who comes in for Jack Yeandle, who took a bang to his head at Saracens.

Behind, Henry Slade gets the nod at fly-half over Gareth Steenson; Phil Dollman reverts back into the midfield alongside Ian Whitten, whilst there are recalls for both Luke Arscott and Tom James.

Meanwhile, Exiles boss Brian Smith has included Topsy Ojo and Marland Yarde in his starting line-up.

Shane Geraghty moves back to fly-half with James O'Connor moving to the inside centre position. John Yapp starts at loosehead prop and Ian Gough and Mike Mayhew are named as replacements.

Yapp, David Paice and Jamie Hagan make up the front row with George Skivington and Nic Rouse in the second row. Kieran Low, Blair Cowan and Ofisa Treviranus are named in the back row.

Darren Allinson and Shane Geraghty will start at half back with James O'Connor and Eamonn Sheridan in the centre. Marland Yarde, Alex Lewington and Topsy Ojo make up the back three.

Smith is keen for the Exiles to return to the victory trail after the lost narrowly to Leicester last weekend.

"We want to finish this block of Premiership games well and go to Exeter and put in the type of performance that has seen us win away at Saracens and Wasps," he said.

"Exeter are similar to us in the fact that they will fight for everything, however we have prepared well this week and will go to Sandy Park with a winning intent."

Form: Exeter Chiefs have slipped to five straight defeats in Aviva Premiership Rugby - their worst run in the competition - and dropped from fifth to eighth place in the table. The Chiefs have been defeated in their last two Premiership contests at Sandy Park, by Northampton and Bath, but have never lost three in a row at the venue. London Irish's three game winning run in the Premiership ended on Sunday with their 15-20 reversal to Leicester Tigers. The Exiles have won their last two away games, at Saracens and Wasps, but have not won three in a row on the road in the Premiership since 2008. Exeter have won their last four encounters with London Irish whilst the Exiles only previous victory at Sandy Park was 12-69 in the Premiership on 23rd October 2010.

The teams:

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

London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 James O'Connor, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 David Paice, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Ian Gough, 21 Gerard Ellis, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Ed Hoadley.

Date: Saturday, March 1
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Ashley Rowden
Television match official: Geoffrey Warren
Timekeeper: Matthew Peters

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