TOP BAR - Fixtures

Exeter Chiefs team to face Ospreys

Exeter Chiefs switch from domestic duties to that of Europe this weekend as they mark their first outing in the Champions Cup with an away day at Ospreys on Sunday (5:30pm).

After three successive victories in the Aviva Premiership, Rob Baxter’s side will be looking to continue their good form against the Welsh region at the Liberty Stadium.
 
It’s some two years since Devon’s finest last mixed it with Europe’s elite – facing the likes of Glasgow Warriors, Cardiff Blues and back-to-back winners, RC Toulon in the old Heineken Cup – and their re-introduction this year promises to be just as tough with the Chiefs also set to tackle French sides Bordeaux-Begles and Clermont-Auvergne, as well as Sunday’s opponents.
 
Baxter and his players, however, are relishing the challenges that lie ahead and cannot wait to see where that stand in terms of their development, particularly having made such a strong start to the season, including three successive victories in the Aviva Premiership.
 
“I like the change up as a competition,” said Baxter. “I like the fact we are going into a competition where we can show the best of ourselves, put others under pressure and just go out and show what we are all about. Personally, I really like that it’s do or die, all or nothing, and that we can go after it as hard as we can.
 
“Going away to Ospreys is a great start for us, they are the team who should be really under pressure, it’s a home game for them and next week they go to Clermont, so that’s a tough start for them. However, if we can start well, show our qualities and put them under pressure, it should be an interesting game up there.”
 
Although the Chiefs have faced the Ospreys twice before – both times victorious in the LV= Cup – this latest encounter promises to be a much tougher affair, particularly as the hosts will be buoyed by the recent return of many of their Welsh Rugby World Cup stars, including skipper Alun Wyn-Jones.
 
“Personnel wise they will be different, as will their focus,” added the Chiefs head coach. “In the past regional sides build themselves up for this period, whereas it’s slightly different in the Premiership as you know you have to get off to a flyer and do well, otherwise you could end up in the relegation zone or out of the league before it starts.
 
“For us, it’s more about a shift of focus rather than a build for these games. We have already built to be very good in the early rounds of the Premiership, so now we have to shift our focus to see if we can accelerate and intensify into these two European games.”
 
Certainly Baxter’s squad will head into the Principality with not only a greater depth to it than that of two years ago, but also a wealth of big game experience and knowledge.
 
“For sure we’re in a lot better position this time, simply because a lot of the guys have had that experience in the Heineken Cup two years ago,” continued Baxter. “Games against the likes of Toulon, I remember Henry [Slade] coming in at the last minute over there, they are fantastic experiences and can only benefit you as a player.
 
“I think now we’re reaping the rewards of some of those experiences, but I also hope in years to come we will reap even more if we can get some continued development in this competition.
 
“Our aim is to be in this competition as often as we can and when we are in it, to then be as good as we possibly can.”
 
Ahead of kick-off, Baxter has been buoyed by the return to training this week of both Ben Moon and Geoff Parling, but neither will be risked in Swansea. Also missing out will be Thomas Waldrom (thigh) and Phil Dollman (rib) both of whom were forced off during last weekend’s win over Leicester Tigers.
 
That means Baxter sticks with an unchanged starting pack for the game, whilst behind Sam Hill comes into the centre in place of Ian Whitten and Matt Jess is promoted from the bench to the wing, meaning England international Jack Nowell takes over at full-back from Dollman.
 
On the bench, Tom Johnson is included in the first team squad for the first time this campaign, as is Italian newcomer Michele Campagnaro, who himself is no stranger to the competition having played for Benetton Treviso in the past.
 
 
15 Jack Nowell
14 Matt Jess
13 Henry Slade
12 Sam Hill
11 James Short
10 Gareth Steenson (capt)
9 Will Chudley
 
1 Alec Hepburn
2 Luke Cowan-Dickie
3 Tomas Francis
4 Mitch Lees
5 Damian Welch
6 Dave Ewers
7 Julian Salvi
8 Don Armand
 
16 Jack Yeandle
17 Carl Rimmer
18 Moray Low
19 Ollie Atkins
20 Tom Johnson
21 Dave Lewis
22 Ian Whitten
23 Michele Campagnaro
 

Latest News

O’Callaghan named Warriors captain for 2017/18 campaign

Donncha O'Callaghan will lead Warriors during Gary Gold's first full season in charge after being named as the Club's captain…

O’Callaghan named Warriors captain for 2017/18 campaign

2017/18 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup fixtures announced

Champions Cup holders, Saracens, will be looking to become only the second club in history to secure a European three-in-a-row…

Jonathan Fisher returns to London Irish

New academy forwards coach Jonathan Fisher says the opportunity to return to London Irish was too good to turn down.…

Jonathan Fisher returns to London Irish

Bermuda sets Saracens up for Philadelphia, says Chris Wyles

Social media would suggest that Saracens were just having a laugh in Bermuda last week during pre-season, but nothing could…

Chris Wyles

O’Callaghan and Stringer to face former club Munster

Donncha O'Callaghan will lead Warriors against his old side Munster Rugby on Thursday at Sixways in their final pre-season clash…

O’Callaghan and Stringer to face former club Munster

London Irish face Edinburgh in European opener

London Irish kick-off their European Rugby Challenge Cup campaign at home to Edinburgh Rugby on Saturday, 14 October. The Pro14…

European fixtures to be released today

The fixtures for the 2017/18 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season will be announced on Tuesday, 22 August at 3.00pm…

Joe Launchbury named as Wasps captain for 2017/18

England lock Joe Launchbury continues as Wasps’ captain for the 2017/18 season, having led the side to the Aviva Premiership…

Joe Launchbury

Wasps and Under Armour launch 150th anniversary season kit

Inspired by Wasps’ rich history and combined with Under Armour’s innovative technology, the new kits will be worn by the…

Wasps Kit 17/18

Bath Rugby to continue supporting existing charity partners for the 2017/18 season

Bath Rugby is delighted to confirm that the Club will continue to support Bath Cats and Dogs Home, RUH Forever…

Bath Supporters

Anthony Perenise re-joins Bath Rugby for 2017/18 campaign

Bath Rugby is delighted to announce that tighthead prop Anthony Perenise will be re-joining the Club in time for the…

Anthony Perenise

Wasps name team for Connacht clash

Dai Young has named a 27-man squad to take on Connacht Rugby at the Ricoh Arena on Wednesday evening, kick-off…

Defensive display pleases Kennedy

London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy was pleased with his side’s defensive display during Friday’s 29-6 victory over Ealing…

Three charities to benefit from Wasps 150th anniversary season

Wasps are proving that charity begins at home as they gear up to mark the club’s 150th anniversary. Dai Young’s…

Wasps celebrate

Temporary replacement period for off-field HIA now fixed at ten minutes

World Rugby has approved an amendment to law making it mandatory for players who undertake an off-field screening under the…

Toby Flood starts for Newcastle Falcons against Rotherham Titans

Toby Flood makes the first start of his second spell at Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they host Rotherham Titans…

Joe Marler commits to Harlequins until 2021

Harlequins is thrilled to announce today, Friday 18th August, that England and British and Irish Lions prop, Joe Marler, has…

Joe Marler

Rokoduguni starts for Bath Rugby against Ospreys

Semesa Rokoduguni will make his first appearance of pre-season when Bath Rugby take on Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on…

Harlequins team to play Jersey Reds

Harlequins has announced the squad to play Jersey Reds in the final match of the 2017/18 pre-season campaign, at The…

Francis Saili