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Aviva Premiership preview: Exeter v Leicester
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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|Saturday 29th November|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Wasps|
|16:30||Exeter vs Saracens|
|Sunday 30th November|
|13:00||London Irish vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Northampton|
|15:15||Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 20th December|
|14:00||Sale vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Bath|
|15:00||Saracens vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Northampton vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st December|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|Friday 26th December|
|15:00||London Irish vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:00||Sale vs Leicester|
|15:00||Bath vs Exeter|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Saracens|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Wasps|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Northampton|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|15:00||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|15:00||Leicester vs Bath|
|15:00||Northampton vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Wasps vs Sale|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:00||Sale vs Northampton|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Saracens|
|Friday 28th November|
|Bath 25 - 6 Harlequins|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 24 - 31 Northampton|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
|Sunday 12th October|
|Wasps 29 - 22 Bath|
|Saturday 11th October|
|Northampton 43 - 10 Sale Sharks|
|Saracens 28 - 21 Gloucester|
|Exeter 44 - 24 London Irish|
|London Welsh 3 - 23 Newcastle|
|Friday 10th October|
|Leicester 22 - 16 Harlequins|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com