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- LV= Cup
- Semi Final
- 9th Mar 2014
- KO 13:00
- Ground: The Recreation Ground
- Att: 11,000
LV= Cup semi-final: Bath v Exeter preview
Guy Mercer will make his first start for Bath since October on Sunday when they welcome Exeter in the LV= Cup semi-final.
Mercer is joined in the back row by the returning Matt Garvey on the blindside and Leroy Houston at No 8.
Ryan Caldwell joins captain Stuart Hooper in the engine room, with Eusebio Guinazu flanked at hooker by Nathan Catt and Argentina team-mate Juan Pablo Orlandi.
In the half-backs, Martin Roberts and Tom Heathcote resume their partnership, with Horacio Agulla and Semesa Rokoduguni named out wide on the wings.
Ollie Devoto, nominated for this year's LV= breakthrough player award, combines with Gavin Henson in the midfield, whilst Nick Abendanon completes the line-up from full-back.
Meanwhile, Exeter boss Rob Baxter insists getting the "nuts and bolts right" will be the key to victory.
Unlike previous rounds where Baxter used the LV= Cup to give game time to fringe squad members, this weekend it will be a near full-strength Chiefs line-up that takes to the field at The Rec.
Although missing Jack Nowell and Tom Johnson to England duty, the remainder of the Exeter team looks impressive.
Johnson's absence means Dave Ewers switches from No 8 to blindside; Kai Horstmann anchors the scrum; whilst there is a first start since January for Chris Whitehead, who takes over at hooker from Luke Cowan-Dickie.
The back division remains untouched from last time out, but on the bench there are recalls for James Hanks and former Bath favourite James Scaysbrook.
"We'll be going full-on, for obvious reasons - it's the first time we've been in the semi-finals, the final's at Sandy Park and we want to keep some momentum from the win against London Irish," said Baxter.
"We've performed well at Bath in the last couple of years - we've scored tries and scored plenty of points, the key for us again is making sure we get our game-management right and defensively we're very sound. That will make us a difficult team to beat because we do score points."
Bath: 15 Abendanon, 14 Rokoduguni, 13 Devoto, 12 Henson, 11 Agulla, 10 Heathcote, 9 Roberts; 1 Catt, 2 Guinazu, 3 Orlandi, 4 Hooper (capt), 5 Caldwell, 6 Garvey, 7 Mercer, 8 Houston
Replacements: 16 Batty, 17 Perenise, 18 Palma-Newport, 19 Gilbert, 20 Louw, 21 Stringer, 22 Williams, 23 Banahan
Exeter: 15 Arscott, 14 Jess, 13 Whitten, 12 Dollman, 11 James, 10 Slade, 9 Lewis; 1 Moon, 2 Whitehead, 3 Tui, 4 Mumm (capt), 5 Welch, 6 Ewers, 7 White, 8 Horstmann
Replacements: 16 Cowan-Dickie, 17 Rimmer, 18 Brown, 19 Hanks, 20 Scaysbrook, 21 Thomas, 22 Steenson, 23 Vainikolo
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|Sunday 8th February|
|Saracens 35 - 18 Exeter|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 17 - 13 London Welsh|
|Saturday 7th February|
|Northampton 29 - 6 Wasps|
|Gloucester 25 - 7 Harlequins|
|Bath 10 - 13 Ospreys|
|London Irish 13 - 31 Newcastle|
|Cardiff Blues 9 - 43 Leicester|
|Sale Sharks 38 - 3 Scarlets|
|Sunday 1st February|
|Newcastle 39 - 19 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 15 - 20 Saracens|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 32 - 37 Exeter|
|Wasps 42 - 45 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 31st January|
|Scarlets 27 - 18 London Irish|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Northampton|
|Gloucester 32 - 25 Ospreys|
|Harlequins 21 - 23 Bath|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com