Saturday, 22 March 2014

3 Changed for Cheifs

Injury and unavailability forces Richard Cockerill into two changes from the side that beat Newcastle three weeks ago.  Inside centre Dan Bowden, in New Zealand for his Sister’s wedding, has had to have an appendectomy after complaining of stomach ache.  On the wing Blaine Scully is absent representing his country in a crucial World Cup Qualifier in Montevideo.

Experienced centre Anthony Allen replaces Bowden to reprise his successful centre partnership with Manu Tuilagi.  Adam Thompstone, who scored a hat trick of tries on debut in this fixture last year, comes in for US Eagle Scully on the wing.

The other backs are unchanged; Owen Williams is preferred to previous captain Toby Flood as partner for Ben Youngs in the half backs; Mat Tait and superstar winger Vereniki Goneva retain their places in the back three.  

The official web site's preview is claiming this is Ben Youngs's 100th start but my stats show only 98 so far.  The club's own stats on the web site agree with my own.  If anyone has any ideas where the phantom game is then please leave a comment below.

One change in the forwards is made as Pablo Matera is replaced by Julian Salvi at openside.  Matera showed great awareness and strength to poach the bonus point try against Newcastle and is extremely unlucky to miss out on the matchday squad altogether.

Jordan Crane and Jamie Gibson round out the back row whilst the tight five is unchanged.  Ed Slater continues as captain beside Louis Deacon in the second row; Marcos Ayerza, Tom Youngs and Logo Mulipola make an all international front row.

Graham Kitchener returns to fitness and is named on the bench.  Kitchener has played only once since injuring his ankle against Ulster in January.  Boris Stankovich maintains his ever present season, again named on the bench alongside Fraser Balmain, Rob Hawkins, Thomas Waldrom, David Mele, Toby Flood and Scott Hamilton.

With 7 tries in the last 2 games Tigers have been feeling their way back into top form.  They will need to find their best against Exeter.  Last weekend the Chiefs became the 16th different club to win the Cup after their 15-8 win against Northampton.  The game was played at top intensity and Exeter will be on the crest of a wave at the moment.

Exeter plays a pressure game at a fast tempo to try and unsettle opposition.  Tigers should counter this with more pressure and be able to beat them at their own game.  With heavy duty carries in Manu, Logo and Tom Youngs we should be able to break their tackles and get onto the front foot. 

Henry Slade showed remarkable coolness to steer Exeter to their Cup Final triumph but struggled with his goal kicking at times.  His personal dual with Owen Williams will go a long way to determining who comes out on top this Sunday.

For the second home game in a row the referee is Dean Richards.  

15 Mat Tait
14 Vereniki Goneva
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Anthony Allen
11 Adam Thompstone
10 Owen Williams
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Tom Youngs
3 Logovi'i Mulipola
4 Louis Deacon
5 Ed Slater (c)
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Graham Kitchener
20 Thomas Waldrom
21 David Mele
22 Toby Flood
23 Scott Hamilton

15 Luke Arscott
14 Jack Nowell
13 Ian Whitten
12 Phil Dollman
11 Fetu'u Vainikolo
10 Henry Slade
9 Dave Lewis
1 Ben Moon
2 Jack Yeandle
3 Hoani Tui
4 Dean Mumm (c)
5 Damian Welch
6 Dave Ewers
7 Ben White
8 Kai Horstmann

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie
17 Carl Rimmer
18 Alex Brown
19 Don Armand
20 Tom Johnson
21 Haydn Thomas
22 Gareth Steenson
23 Matt Jess

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