Exeter v Clermont: Champions Cup preview
By Julian Crabtree
Last Updated: 12/12/15 5:36pm
Exeter scrum-half Will Chudley says that the Chiefs won't be giving Clermont Auvergne too much respect when they clash in the Champions Cup on Saturday.
Clermont are currently leading the Top 14 table and were the losing finalists in last season's European Champions Cup, but Exeter are hoping that their Premiership form will hold them in good stead against the French heavyweights.
Exeter are currently second in the Premiership having won five of their six encounters and Chudley has urged his team-mates to stick to what has worked for them so well this season.
"They [Clermont] are a huge club with some fantastic players, but we know when we are not on our game and it only happens when we worry too much about the opposition," said Chudley on the club's official website.
"That is the key to our success this season - we know what we do well and we only need to concentrate on us. "We have great respect for them and they have world class players, but we definitely won't be treating them any differently. We will just stick to what we do well and try and nullify their threats, but we won't change the way we play because of who they are."
Exeter have faced Clermont before; in 2013 they were crushed 46-12 at Sandy Park in round 2 of the then Heineken Cup and in round 5 they were beaten 46-3 at Stade Marcel Michelin.
At the time, coach Rob Baxter said it was one of those challenges that will really improve them as a side and was a good lesson for them - and Phil Vickery says that Clermont must not take them lightly.
"We must not under estimate this Exeter team and where they have come from," said the former England prop.
"To competing at the highest level of Europe and to get better you have to go through those hard times. Exeter have gone through those difficult losses but have consistently got better and better. Sandy Park for an evening kick off in Europe - well it is one place you don't want to go.
"The nice thing for me about Exeter is their skill sets. Often the driving maul and the scrum are looked down upon but I have watched them score some brilliant tries from driving mauls and scrums.
"The ball is not going to ground and then suddenly a Henry Slade is running off the back into space - what a brilliant way to play rugby."
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley; 1 Ben Moon, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Mitch Lees, 5 Damian Welch, 6 Don Armand, 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Thomas Waldrom
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Moray Low, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Olly Woodburn.
Clermont: 15. Scott Spedding; 14. David Strettle, 13. Aurélien Rougerie, 12. Hosea Gear, 11. Noa Nakaitaci; 10. Camille Lopez, 9. Morgan Parra; 1. Thomas Domingo, 2. John Ulugia, 3. Clément Ric, 4. Paul Jedrasiak, 5. Sébastien Vahaamahina, 6. Peceli Yato, 7. Vito Kolelishvili, 8. Damien Chouly.
Replacements: 16. Marthinius Van Der Westhuizen, 17. Raphael Chaume, 18. Daniel Kotze, 19. Flip Van Der Merwe, 20. Judicaël Cancoriet, 21. Ludovic Radoslavjevic , 22. Pato Fernandez, 23. Albert Vulivuli
Watch Exeter v Clermont live on Sky Sports 3 HD on Saturday from 5pm. Catch the match for £6.99 on NOW TV. No contract.