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Aviva Premiership preview: Exeter v Leicester

Last updated: 23rd March 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Toby Flood England v Italy

Toby Flood: Captains the Tigers on his return from international duty

Lee Dickson clearing for Northampton under pressure from Hoani Tui of Exeter

Exeter's Hoani Tui: back to face Leicester on Saturday

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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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Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 14th November
Aviva Premiership
19:45Gloucester vs Harlequins
19:45Northampton vs Exeter
Saturday 15th November
14:00Sale vs London Irish
17:00Bath vs Newcastle
Sunday 16th November
13:00Leicester vs Saracens
15:15Wasps vs London Welsh
Friday 21st November
19:45Harlequins vs Sale
20:00Newcastle vs Gloucester
Saturday 22nd November
15:00London Irish vs Bath
15:00Exeter vs Wasps
Sunday 23rd November
13:00Saracens vs Northampton
15:15London Welsh vs Leicester
Friday 28th November
19:45Bath vs Harlequins
Saturday 29th November
15:00Leicester vs Wasps
16:30Exeter vs Saracens
Sunday 30th November
13:00London Irish vs Gloucester
14:30London Welsh vs Northampton
15:15Newcastle vs Sale
Saturday 20th December
14:00Sale vs Exeter
15:00Gloucester vs Bath
15:00Northampton vs Leicester
15:00Saracens vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs Newcastle
Sunday 21st December
14:00Wasps vs London Irish
Friday 26th December
15:00London Irish vs London Welsh

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Phil Edwards

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