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Aviva Premiership preview: Exeter v Leicester
- Diamond praises tough Sharks
- Irish pack delights Smith
- Narrow loss frustrates Young
- Jones rouses beaten Welsh
- McCall salutes England stars
- Sale v Bath: Teams
- Saracens v Harlequins: Teams
- Gloucester v L Welsh: Teams
- London Irish v Worcester:Teams
- Gloucester v Harlequins: Teams
- Wasps v Northampton: Teams
- Sale boost survival hopes
- Burns too hot for Welsh
- Draw suits strugglers
- Tigers hunt down Chiefs
- Sarries charge over Quins
- Irish ease relegation fears
- Wasps hurt by Saints
Exeter boss Rob Baxter has made two changes to his pack for Saturday's sell-out Aviva Premiership clash with Leicester who welcome back their international big guns.
Prop Hoani Tui comes in for Alex Brown and Aussie lock Dean Mumm returns in place of Tommy Hayes as Baxter largely keeps faith with the team which upset champions Harlequins at the Stoop two weeks ago.
The Chiefs have not played since that stunning victory and the break has allowed prop Brett Sturgess (arm) and Chris Whitehead (neck) to recover from injuries, through both start on the bench.
Joining them on the bench - for a first time in the Premiership - will be England U20s starlet Henry Slade, whose superb displays in the recent U20s Six Nations tournament raised eyebrows.
Exeter badly need a victory to maintain their push for Heineken Cup rugby next season, whilst Leicester are sitting pretty in third, with a five-point cushion ahead of Northampton.
They welcome back their international contingent: England players Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi all return to the starting line-up.
Martin Castrogiovanni returns on the bench, having recovered from the injury which forced him to miss Italy's last match against Ireland.
Fly-half Flood will lead out the Tigers as captain for the first time in the absence of both Geordan Murphy and Louis Deacon.
Exeter: 15 L Arscott, 14 J Nowell, 13 S Naqelevuki, 12 P Dollman, 11 M Jess, 10 G Steenson, 9 H Thomas, 1 C Rimmer, 2 J Yeandle, 3 H Tui, 4 D Mumm, 5 D Welch, 6 B White, 7 J Scaysbrook, 8 R Baxter
Replacements: 16 C Whitehead, 17 B Sturgess, 18 C Mitchell, 19 J Hanks, 20 D Ewers, 21 W Chudley, 22 H Slade, 23 I Whitten
Leicester: 15 M Tait, 14 N Morris, 13 M Tuilagi, 12 A Allen, 11 A Thompstone, 10 T Flood, 9 B Youngs, 1 M Ayerza 2 T Youngs, 3 D Cole, 4 E Slater, 5 G Parling, 6 T Croft, 7 J Salvi, 8 J Crane
Replacements: 16 R Hawkins, 17 L Mulipola, 18 M Castrogiovanni, 19 T Waldrom, 20 G Kitchener, 21 S Harrison, 22 G Ford, 23 M Smith
What they said...
Exeter boss Rob Baxter
"We know we are not in danger of relegation, but we are in a group who can push on and achieve things. Whether that's fighting to get into the top four or whether it's fighting to get into the Heineken Cup, those things are still attainable to us right now. And if they are attainable, I expect us to fight tooth and nail to get them
"It's an important game, it's a sell-out and everybody is aware it's a great challenge and that it's getting to the business end of the season. We are fully aware it's an important game for Leicester, but equally it's a very important game for Exeter."
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said
"It's great to have everyone back for the start of the run-in, we've had a good week back together this week and now we just want to get back out on the field.
"Exeter have a very good record at home but every game from now until the end of the season is massive for us and we have to get it right."
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com