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Preview: Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

Preview: Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

With just three rounds to go, Exeter Chiefs’ trip to the Ricoh Arena has huge implications and Kai Horstmann admits the visitors are not short of motivation.

For the first time in the club’s history, the Chiefs are chasing the Aviva Premiership Rugby title – victory over reigning champions Northampton Saints two weeks ago moved them back into the top four.

Two places and five points behind them are Wasps, with Dai Young’s side still harbouring semi-final hopes at this late stage.

For Exeter it has been a season of success and frustration in equal measure, losing to Saracens in the LV= Cup final before Gloucester Rugby knocked them out of the European Rugby Challenge Cup final four last weekend.

Horstmann is eager to make amends by going all the way in the league but he knows a trip to Wasps’ new Coventry home is among the toughest on the Aviva Premiership Rugby calendar.

“We’re hugely excited about what’s coming this weekend,” said the 33-year-old.

“We’ll take it very much in isolation and making sure we turn up with the right mental state. We just want to give a very good account of ourselves up there.

“They seem to have made a quick transition to the Ricoh and had some really good results there.

“They play a very good brand of rugby, they’re a top side and they are right in there amongst it so it’s massive for them and massive for both teams, so it should be a great spectacle.

“It was a big day beating Saints and we’re pretty proud of that performance by everyone but it would be very naive to start thinking that’s going to have any bearing on how we take on the next challenge.”

Wasps have been beaten at the Ricoh Arena just once in Aviva Premiership Rugby – a 26-17 reversal at the hands of Saracens in round 17 – and recorded a 40-13 triumph over London Welsh last time out.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, have lost just one of their last six matches in the competition, collecting 23 points in the process to earn the title of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s form team.

They also appear to have a hold over Wasps in recent years, avoiding defeat in all but one of the clubs’ last nine meetings, but Andrea Masi is confident the hosts can cause Exeter plenty of problems.

"It's definitely do or die against Exeter, it's a massive game for us and for them as well," he said.

"We are going to have pressure, that's for sure, but we are training to play with this type of pressure during the week. We try to practice the game situation and we are confident we can deal with it.

"It's fantastic to play alongside some of our players who are in very good form, and we're confident that will continue in the next three games."

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so with just three rounds to go, now's the time to click here to book your place at the world's biggest club rugby final

(Ricoh Arena, 2pm)
Referee:
Matthew Carley (29th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Gareth Copsey. TMO: Sean Davey.
Live on BT Sport

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Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups

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Wasps 36 Exeter Chiefs 29