Fixtures - Top Bar

Exeter Chiefs reveal team to face Clermont Auvergne

RobBaxter14SB10052

Rob Baxter insists he and his squad need no reminding of the importance of tomorrow’s European Champions Cup encounter with visiting ASM Clermont Auvergne at Sandy Park (5:15pm).

Having kicked off their return to Europe’s top tier with defeat to the Ospreys, the Devon club rediscovered their winning formula by securing a bonus point victory at home to Bordeaux-Begles.
 
That success means as they prepare to hit the halfway stage of the competition, they lie second in Pool 5 behind the Welsh region who themselves came unstuck to Clermont at the Stade Marcel Michelin last time out.
 
But whereas both the Ospreys and the Chiefs have already featured in two games, last season’s runners-up have only featured once in the competition, this after their opening fixture against French rivals Bordeaux-Begles was postponed following the atrocities in Paris just 24 hours earlier.
 
It’s little wonder therefore that Baxter describes the back-to-back fixtures against the European heavyweights as ‘pivotal’ to his side’s aspirations within the tournament.
 
“Right now this Champions Cup pool is still a long way dead for us, but we realise this weekend is going to be pivotal in terms of how we do,” said the Chiefs head coach. “If we lose this weekend, it will make it very difficult for us to progress. However, if we win, then it makes it very exciting for us.
 
“As always we will go after the game with the strongest team we can, do everything we can to win the game and then we will roll into next week. For now, I just want out lads to go out and show the best of their qualities.
 
“Yes, there is pressure on us, particularly after losing at the Ospreys and not getting a point there. The truth is that you need around 17, 18 or 19 points to make it through a group if you look at previous years, so coming into your third game with just five points does put a bit of pressure on you, especially with our home fixture coming up.
 
“If we don’t get anything on Saturday, then with three games left you have to look at picking up three wins probably. Where are they going to come from?
 
“It is tough so there is a bit of pressure, but if you can’t get in the right frame of mind for Clermont Auvergne at Sandy Park with us second in the Premiership and them first in the Top 14 – well, I just can’t see that happening.”
 
With the Ospreys defeat the only blot on an impressive run of recent form for the Premiership club, Baxter is hoping his players can pick up from where they left off against in-form Wasps just a week ago.
 
“We should be excited about this weekend,” Baxter added. “We are second in the Premiership, we’ve beaten a French team in the main European competition for the first time when we played  Bordeaux, and we certainly better placed and feeling more comfortable about ourselves than the last time we played Clermont.
 
“I’ve said to the lads that this is the weekend for them to go out and have the game of their lives and create an experience that they’ll never forget. It’s not every day you get to play the team who are top of the Top 14, especially when Exeter are second in the Premiership, but this could be an evening they remember for a long time.
 
“This weekend should be fantastic for our players and I want them to be excited and want it to bring the best out of them. I’m not worried too much about what happened two or three years ago when we played them, I worry more about what we can do over 80 minutes on Saturday night.”
 
It was two years ago that the Chiefs locked horns with Clermont in the old Heineken Cup, coming unstuck on both occasions by scoreline of 46-12 at Sandy Park and 46-3 at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
 
Much has changed in that time, particularly with the Chiefs, and Baxter is confident his troops are more prepared for the battles that lie ahead over the next fortnight.
 
“I would like to say we are much improved, but until the whistle blows on Saturday we won’t really know how much,” said Baxter. “I’ll be honest, I thought at times in the previous two games we were doing well, but then all of a sudden they would bang in a couple of scores and at times it felt like we were chasing shadows.
 
“Yes, I feel we are a better side now, our league position certainly shows that, as does our performances in matches over that time. Ultimately, though, you are only as good as the performance you are putting in on a rugby field and whilst our last couple of performances have been very nice, I’m more worried about how we perform on Saturday.
 
“That’s how I like to coach the players and they know I’ll judge them on what they do in the here and now, not so much on what they’ve done last week and previous to that.”
 
Exeter come into the game, however, rocked by the news that two of their star performers this term, Henry Slade and Dave Ewers, will both be sidelined into the New Year with injuries.
 
The loss of both will be felt by the Devonians, but Baxter believes it offers others the opportunity to step up and prove their worth to the cause.
 
Ahead of kick-off, team news for the Chiefs sees Damian Welch and Don Armand return to the pack in place of England duo Geoff Parling and Tom Johnson, whilst behind Irishman Ian Whitten comes in at centre for the stricken Slade.
 
15 Phil Dollman
14 Jack Nowell
13 Ian Whitten
12 Sam Hill
11 James Short
10 Gareth Steenson
9 Will Chudley
 
1 Ben Moon
2 Jack Yeandle (capt)
3 Tomas Francis
4 Mitch Lees
5 Damian Welch
6 Don Armand
7 Julian Salvi
8 Thomas Waldrom
 
16 Elvis Taione
17 Carl Rimmer
18 Moray Low
19 Geoff Parling
20 Tom Johnson
21 Dave Lewis
22 Will Hooley
23 Olly Woodburn
 

Latest News

Henry Thomas signs new three-year deal with Bath Rugby

Tighthead prop Henry Thomas has signed a new three-year contract with Bath Rugby, the Club are very pleased to announce…

Henry Thomas

The Anglo-Welsh Cup is back!

Click here for tickets to the Anglo-Welsh Cup Final on 19 March LAST year was one to remember for rugby…

161031_premrug_aw_newheroes_online_1920x1080

Ed Slater suspended after club disciplinary hearing

Leicester Tigers have suspended forward Ed Slater from playing for two weeks following an internal disciplinary hearing. Following a citing,…

Ed Slater

Will Spencer backs Worcester Warriors for Anglo-Welsh Cup run

Lock Will Spencer claims Worcester Warriors will be pulling no punches when they return to Anglo-Welsh Cup duty against Harlequins…

Will Spencer has played six times for Worcester Warriors this season

Owen Farrell leads the way in Europe

No one has more points in the European Rugby Champions Cup than Owen Farrell after the Saracens fly-half was exceptional…

Owen Farrell kicked five points in Saracens victory over Toulon

Bristol Grammar School To Host Land Rover Cup

Bristol Rugby Community Foundation’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup will be held at Bristol Grammar School’s Sports Ground on Clevedon…

Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup

Saints and supporters help raise even more money for Royal British Legion

Northampton Saints and its supporters have a long track record of getting behind the country’s servicemen and women. This has…

Saints and supporters help raise even more money for Royal British Legion

Saracens to face Glasgow Warriors – Mark McCall reaction

Defending champions Saracens will face Glasgow Warriors at Allianz Park in the quarter final stages of the European Rugby Champions…

Mark McCall

How the European Rugby Champions Cup semi-finals draw works

Following confirmation of the Champions Cup quarter-final line-up, the 2016/17 semi-final pairings will be as follows: Semi-final 1 - winner…

championscup17sb1111

Carlo Festuccia to re-join Wasps for remainder of season

Former Italy, Wasps and Zebre hooker, Carlo Festuccia, has re-joined Wasps on a short-term contract until the end of the…

Carlo Festuccia

Aviva Premiership Rugby European round-up: Wasps make quarter-finals

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young was far from overawed by his side’s performance in Italy, despite a 41-27 success…

PARMA, ITALY - JANUARY 21:  Christian Wade  of Wasps scores a fourth try during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Zebre Rugby and Wasps at  Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on January 21, 2017 in Parma, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)

How the Challenge Cup semi-final draw works

If you've always struggled to work out how the semi-final draw of the European Challenge Cup works then look no…

GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Lewis Ludlow of Gloucester scores his team's first try of the game during the European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Gloucester Rugby and Bayonne on January 21, 2017 in Gloucester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final draw

Reigning champions Saracens have earned a home quarter-final against Glasgow Warriors in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals after topping Pool…

JameHakellWapCa14B1005

European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final draw

Group winners Bath Rugby and Gloucester Rugby will both be at home in their European Challenge Cup quarter-finals after topping…

BATH, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Anthony Watson of Bath Rugby goes over for his sides third try during the European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Bath Rugby and Pau at the Recreation Ground on January 21, 2017 in Bath, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Aviva Premiership Rugby European wrap: Big displays see Saracens, Gloucester Rugby and Bath Rugby progress

Mark McCall believes his Saracens side delivered a “coming of age” performance after a dogged 10-3 victory over Toulon guaranteed…

BARNET, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21:  Chris Ashton of Saracens scores the first try during the European Rugby Champions Cup between Saracens and RC Toulon at Allianz Park on January 21, 2017 in Barnet, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

European round-up: Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints did captain Lee Dickson proud on Friday night despite suffering a 26-17 defeat at the hands of Montpellier…

BARNET, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Lee Dickson of Northampton passes the ball during the Aviva Premiership match between Saracens and Northampton Saints at Allianz Park on September 17, 2016 in Barnet, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Concussion Management Review Group Update – Sale Sharks

The joint RFU/Premiership Rugby Concussion Management Review Group met following the referral of the untoward incident involving Sale Sharks’ player…

PremRugbyBallsSngle

Matt Hopper: Harlequins ready for Stade Francais cup final

Harlequins are gearing up for a ‘cup final’ when they visit France in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, but centre…

Harlequins v Saracens - Aviva Premiership

Chris Harris desperate to kick on after Newcastle Falcons return

Newcastle Falcons’ narrow European Rugby Challenge Cup loss to Grenoble may have dashed their hopes of making it through to…

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Gloucester Rugby name side for final European pool game against Bayonne

With a home quarter-final spot resting on the result, Gloucester Rugby make seven changes for the visit of Aviron Bayonnais…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library