Team News: Baxter Names Chiefs Squad for Premiership Return

Team News: Baxter Names Chiefs Squad for Premiership Return

Rob Baxter has named his starting line-up for Chiefs’ return to Gallagher Premiership action in Round 13 against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday, March 23.

The domestic competition returns following a prolonged break as the Guinness Six Nations took place – a tournament which saw six Chiefs players involved for four different nations.

England international Henry Slade and Welsh captain Dafydd Jenkins are given a week off to recuperate from a bruising campaign while Immanuel Feyi-Waboso misses out as he is still coming through concussion protocols, as does Alec Hepburn who picked up a small injury in training. Ethan Roots and Ross Vintcent dive straight back into club colours.

Scott Sio, captain Jack Yeandle and Josh Iosefa-Scott form the starting front row. Then, in Jenkins’ absence, Rusi Tuima and Lewis Pearson start in the second row.

Fresh from his debut England campaign, Ethan Roots starts alongside Richard Capstick – in his first Premiership appearance of the season – and Greg Fisilau in the back row.

Having returned from injury to feature in Chiefs’ friendly fixtures throughout the Six Nations, Will Becconsall starts at scrum half with Harvey Skinner at fly half.

In the back three, Josh Hodge starts at full-back with Olly Woodburn and Dan John on the wings. Zack Wimbush strikes up a young centre partnership with Joe Hawkins with Slade unavailable.

Director of Rugby Rob Baxter explains his squad’s focus this week has been on themselves to ensure that they hit their stride in this first match of Premiership Rugby’s ‘Run In’.

“Steve Diamond has gone into Newcastle and we think they look like they could be a handful under him. They’ll be looking to get more settled now with time and training in the environment they’re in. So, I think they’ll be a challenge. There’s never a game in the Premiership that isn’t a real challenge.

“Having said that, I think the one thing that has allowed us to be at our best this year is that we’ve focused on ourselves. That’s regardless of who the opposition has been. We’ve talked about who we want to be, how we want to play and what we want to bring – and that’s tended to be why we’ve been successful at Sandy Park.

“We’ve got to try to make opposition adapt to us, and just focus on ourselves and how we want to play.”

Dan Frost, Danny Southworth and Marcus Street are on the bench in the front row replacement berths. Italian standout Ross Vintcent then joins Jacques Vermeulen as the remaining pack cover.

Stu Townsend prepares to line-up alongside Will Haydon-Wood on his return from injury as recent signing Will Rigg prepares for a potential Gallagher Premiership debut having joined Chiefs from Championship side Coventry in February.

Exeter Chiefs:

15 Josh Hodge

14 Dan John

13 Zack Wimbush

12 Joe Hawkins

11 Olly Woodburn

10 Harvey Skinner

9 Will Becconsall

1 Scott Sio

2 Jack Yeandle (c)

3 Josh Iosefa-Scott

4 Rusi Tuima

5 Lewis Pearson

6 Ethan Roots

7 Richard Capstick

8 Greg Fisilau


16 Dan Frost

17 Danny Southworth

18 Marcus Street

19 Jacques Vermeulen

20 Ross Vintcent

21 Stu Townsend

22 Will Haydon-Wood

23 Will Rigg

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