Fixtures - Top Bar

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

Chiefs side to face Newcastle Falcons

Rob Baxter may be wary of the threat Newcastle Falcons pose to his Exeter side, but insists its challenges such…

Waldrom

Wasps team to play Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday

Director of Rugby Dai Young has named the Wasps’ side to take on Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday,…

Le Roux Wasps

Sale Sharks Team News

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Saracens in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 2.45pm)  at…

Josh Charnley

Newcastle Falcons team to face Exeter Chiefs

Newcastle Falcons have made three changes ahead of Saturday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Exeter Chiefs (kick-off 3pm). Chris Harris replaces…

Evan Olmstead

Gloucester Rugby make two changes for Sunday’s trip to Wasps

Gloucester Rugby keep faith with the majority of the side that started against Saracens last weekend, making just two changes…

Lewis Ludlow

Bristol Rugby team to face Bath Rugby

Bristol Rugby play host to Bath Rugby in the much-anticipated West Country derby on Sunday (1pm KO). Mark Tainton’s men…

Gavin Henson

Saracens name team for Sale clash

Saracens have named their team to face Sale Sharks in Saturday’s round 16 Aviva Premiership clash at Allianz Park, kick-off…

Joel Conlon

Annett and Dowson return for Saints test

Niall Annett and Phil Dowson are among three changes to the Warriors starting line-up for their trip to Franklin’s Gardens…

Phil Dowson

Northampton Saints team news versus Worcester

The Northampton Saints team has been named for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Round 16 home match against Worcester. The Saints head…

Michael Paterson

RFU Disciplinary: Francois Louw

An appeal against the sanction imposed on Francois Louw of Bath Rugby was heard by an RFU Disciplinary appeal panel…

AUDIO: Preview of this weekend’s Six Nations and Aviva Premiership action

It's the third round of matches in the Six Nations Championship this weekend, while action also continues in the Aviva…

Twickenham Stoop

England team to face Italy at Twickenham

Eddie Jones has named his side for England’s RBS 6 Nations game against Italy at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday (kick-off…

Saints eleven pen new deals

Northampton Saints has today announced new deals with 11 members of the current squad. Three of the more experienced players,…

Luther Burrell

Symons wants Gloucester Rugby to kick-on against Wasps

Just three points separates Gloucester Rugby and sixth-placed Harlequins and centre Andy Symons is determined to see the Cherry &…

Bath Rugby surpass 40,000 ticket sales for The Clash

Bath Rugby is thrilled to confirm that over 40,000 tickets have been sold for The Clash, when they will take…

Bath Rugby

Evans determined for a Harlequins top-six finish

Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans is determined to drive Harlequins to a top-six finish as the Aviva Premiership Rugby season reaches…

We’ll expect a physical test against Saints, says Worcester’s Ben Howard

Ben Howard is expecting a big, physical battle when his Worcester Warriors side face Northampton Saints on Saturday. Full-back Howard,…

Evans and Lambert return to the starting line-up for the visit of Leicester Tigers

Harlequins has announced the team to play Leicester Tigers in Round 15 of the Aviva Premiership tomorrow at The Stoop,…

Nick Evans

Leicester Tigers team news ahead of Aviva Premiership trip to The Stoop

Lachlan McCaffrey and Peter Betham return to the Leicester Tigers team for Friday's Aviva Premiership Round 16 fixture away to…

Peter Betham