Fixtures - Top Bar

LV= Cup preview: Newport Gwent Dragons v Exeter Chiefs

RobBaxterLVCup2014SB

Rob Baxter loves nothing more than having his Exeter Chiefs side in charge of their own destiny and the head coach insists a win this weekend will ensure such privilege will remain with them as they bid to qualify for another LV= Cup semi-final.

The Chiefs, LV= Cup champions in 2014, began their title defence in strong fashion back in November, beating Gloucester Rugby in the first round of fixtures 28-27, before humbling Bath Rugby 18-6 the following weekend.

Despite experiencing a rough patch of form in Aviva Premiership Rugby – a 28-26 defeat to London Irish last time out was their fourth consecutive loss – Baxter’s men are still well placed in fifth.

Consecutive European victories over the last two weekends have also secured a European Challenge Cup quarter-final, while a win over Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday would go a long way to securing progression from Pool 4 in the LV= Cup too.

Former Dragons pair Ceri Sweeney and Adam Hughes both start, with Sweeney captaining the side at fly-half, while Tom Johnson, Brett Sturgess and Elvis Taione add experience up front. 

But with a host of young talent also included, such as flanker Sam Simmonds and full-back Max Bodilly, Baxter expects many to lay a marker down for selection throughout the rest of the season.

“It’s nice to have your future in competitions in your own hands, and that’s where things are at the moment,” said Baxter.

“It’s going to be great to see a group of players who have not had as much game time as they would like play against Newport.

“And it will be great to see guys like Fetu’u Vainikolo, Tom James, Ceri Sweeney and Byron McGuigan running around and getting an opportunity to get the ball in their hands and play.

“At the same time it will also be great to see some of the younger guys we think are improving and coming through – guys like Sam Simmonds, Max Bodilly and Stu Townsend – and this is a great competition for them.

“A lot of what you would call our front-line players now have come through playing some very important LV= Cup games for us and it’s been a real testing ground for them.

“It’s going to be an important competition to get us, as a squad, up and running and playing very well for the return to the Aviva Premiership.”

Exeter though aren’t the only side going well in the LV= Cup – the Dragons themselves having recovered from an opening loss to Harlequins by beating Ospreys 51-35 away from home.

It is the first time in this year’s competition that the Welsh side will have played at Rodney Parade and they will mark such an occasion by giving a debut to centre Carl Meyer.

The South African, earning a run out in midfield to compensate for the loss of Tyler Morgan, Pat Leach and Ross Wardle to international duty and injuries respectively, will also hopefully be joined by the returning Ashley Smith.

And Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones insists this competition is perfect for the likes of Meyer and a host of younger talent, who will need the experience to progress as players.   

“Carl will be involved against Exeter, he has shown up well in training and we need to see him play,” said Jones.
“We’ve learnt this season that five centres is not enough and we need to have six in our squad next year.

“The LV= Cup is a great opportunity to see every single player play, what we are looking to develop here is competition within the squad.

“Previously there have been just 15 players to pick from at the Dragons and we are looking to increase that to 20 to 25 players so that no matter who plays you get a very good standard of rugby.”

Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.

Latest News

Gloucester Rugby confirm new deal for scrum-half Callum Braley

Ahead of this evening's fixture with La Rochelle, Gloucester Rugby are pleased to confirm the next re-signing for the 2017/18…

Callum Braley

Josh Beaumont backs Sale Sharks’ new boys to shine

Marquee summer signings AJ MacGinty and Josh Charnley are primed and ready to make their presence felt in the second…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Freddie Burns named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for November 2016

Leicester Tigers’ outside-half Freddie Burns has “got his strut back” and this has led to him being named Aviva Premiership…

fburns-potm-0812

Match officials for this weekend’s European fixtures

Northampton Saints will face Leinster in a rematch of the memorable 2011 final as the European Rugby Champions Cup returns…

629845781DM00026_Saracens_v

Worcester Warriors ‘unlucky’ in defeat to Wasps, says Ryan Bower

Worcester Warriors prop Ryan Bower admits it was important for his side to put in a performance against Wasps after their humbling Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat…

Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

In-form Henry Purdy desperate to keep improving at Gloucester Rugby

Henry Purdy is refusing to rest on his laurels and has vowed to push on hard, despite praise from all…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Max Clark the centre of attention at Bath Rugby

Back in September – just when Bath Rugby were beginning to count on him in the centres – an ill-timed…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Seven tries success for Exeter Braves over Bath United

Exeter Braves’ Shaun Malton and Levi Davis of Bath United became the first opponents since 2005 to both score hat-tricks…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Worcester Warriors capture Samoa lock Chris Vui

Warriors have completed the signing of versatile Samoa forward Chris Vui till the end of the season. For everything you…

Chris Vui

Wallabies lock Will Skelton joins Saracens

Australian international forward Will Skelton has joined Saracens on a short-term deal. For everything you need to know about Saracens…

Will Skelton

Rowe hails ‘fantastic’ year for Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Rugby Club chairman and chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE, heralded a “fantastic” past year – on and off the…

Exeter Chiefs celebrate

Dan Tuohy joins Bristol Rugby with immediate effect

Dan Tuohy has penned a deal with Bristol Rugby to make the switch to Aviva Premiership Rugby with immediate effect.…

Dan Tuohy

Ally Hogg, Cooper Vuna, Aaron Morris, Lachlan Turner, Bryce Heem and Dan Robson head the Opta Rugby Rankings

Attacks dominated as Newcastle Falcons claimed a dramatic win over Harlequins this weekend in Premiership Rugby but Ally Hogg starred…

allyhogg16sb1111

Premiership Rugby backs Newcastle’s bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup Finals

Premiership Rugby today confirmed its “100% support” for Newcastle’s bid to become host city for European club rugby union's showpiece…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Newcastle launches bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup finals

Newcastle is bidding to become the host city for European club rugby union's showpiece weekend in May 2018. The aim…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Aviva Premiership Rugby wrap: Round 10

Maro Itoje could not mark his return to a Saracens jersey with a victory – but his director of rugby…

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Pat Lam confirmed as Bristol Rugby head coach

Bristol Rugby is delighted to announce the appointment of Pat Lam as the Club’s new Head Coach. The 48 year-old…

Pat Lam

Newcastle Falcons v Saracens kick-off time change

Premiership Rugby can confirm that the kick-off time for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 17 Newcastle Falcons v Saracens fixture…

Aviva Premiership ball