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Matt Jess relishes Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final clash

Exeter Chiefs winger Matt Jess believes squad rotation is the key for his side this season as they attempt to book their place in the first showpiece final of the year.

Sunday sees the Chiefs host Harlequins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in what they hope will be the first of two home semi-finals at Sandy Park, with the club also flying high in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

Rob Baxter has placed his trust in a young side on Sunday, with the likes of scrum-half Stuart Townsend, fly-half Joe Simmonds and emerging star Sam Simmonds all in the team.

And veteran Jess hailed director of rugby Rob Baxter for keeping the whole squad fresh, motivated and hungry ahead of Sunday’s clash.


“There is nothing better than playing in semi-finals and finals,” he said.

“But the club wants to be striving for the best and put yourself up there and that is exactly what we are doing.

“I think it is about trying to express yourself and using that excitement and enjoyment with ball in hand show what you can do.

“The guys are going really well and Rob has used his squad wisely. He chops and changes if he needs to, like this Sunday he has rotated but it is a huge game.

“Rob trusts his players and we are all good players, he would not sign us at the end of the day so he trusts us to go out and break down Harlequins.

“We have talked about their threats and have some experienced heads themselves, and they are going to go after it with a possible home final.”

Harlequins will be doubly motivated by the prospect of an Anglo-Welsh Cup final on their home turf and Jess is fully aware of the quality they possess.


And the 32-year-old has called on the Sandy Park faithful to ramp up the noise and cheer their team on to the final.

“It is another big game for the club. There is a huge amount of talent in this squad and this is what we have been striving for in every competition, whether it be Aviva Premiership Rugby, European Cup or the Anglo-Welsh Cup,” he said.

“We know it is a big match, it is a semi-final at Sandy Park and our focus is on us and hopefully we can deliver when it comes to game day.

“Harlequins have a home final if they make it and will come down here with the intention of ripping the game away from us.

“But we need to make this place a fortress and make it about us. We know they are a dangerous side with a load of up and coming young players.”

Tickets for the Anglo-Welsh Cup Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March are now on sale. Click here to buy yours.

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