Rob Baxter has spelt out to his Exeter Chiefs side that they will need to produce a ‘season’s best’ display if they are to overcome rivals Bath Rugby in tomorrow’s Gallagher Premiership semi-final at Sandy Park (4:30pm).
Although the Chiefs head into the semi-final having lost their last three Premiership games, Baxter will be buoyed by the fact that he has a virtually full-strength line-up at his disposal for the visit of Bath.
Since rugby restarted, Baxter has used 57 different players in the top-flight, offering a number of fringe first-teamers the chance to shine. Tomorrow, he will parade virtually the same 23 that defeated Toulouse in Europe a fortnight ago.
Meanwhile, Bath make three changes as they prepare for a first semi-final since 2015.
Bath Rugby’s Joe Cokanasiga will make his first start for the Blue, Black and White after spending 16 months out on the side lines following a knee injury.
Cameron Redpath moves into midfield to join Jonathan Joseph and the young England centre replaces Josh Matavesi, who is named on the bench.
Despite being back to full strength, Exeter Chiefs have lost three Premiership matches in a row and will have one eye on Champions Cup final the following week. Bath, who I think have been the best all-around unit since lockdown will stand toe-toe with the Chiefs pack and win out wide with England speedsters Ruaridh McConnochie and Joe Cokanasiga scoring the tries.
Betting tip: Bath to win by 3 points
Is Exeter Chiefs vs Bath on the TV? Live on BT Sport 1
When is Exeter Chiefs vs Bath taking place? Saturday 10th October, 2020 – 16:30 (UK)
Where is Exeter Chiefs vs Bath taking place? Sandy Park, Exeter
What is the expected weather for Wasps vs Bristol Bears? Partly cloudy, 12c
Exeter Chiefs vs Bath Team News:
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (c), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Ian Whitten
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (c), 4 Josh McNally, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Josh Matavesi, 23 Tom de Glanville
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 16:30 BST
Referee: Luke Pearce (103rd Premiership game, second semi-final). Assistant Referees. Craig Maxwell-Keys & Adam Leal. TMO: Wayne Barnes. Citing Officer: Paul Hull.