Exeter Chiefs make three changes for visit of struggling Warriors
After Heineken Cup assignments against Cardiff Blues and Glasgow Warriors, next up for Exeter Chiefs is Saturday’s league clash again bottom club Worcester Warriors at Sandy Park (3pm).
Chiefs have made three changes to their starting line-up with Brett Sturgess returning at loosehead in place of Ben Moon, while Jack Yeandle gets the nod at hooker over Chris Whitehead and Fetu‘u Vainikolo takes over on the wing from Ian Whitten, who is nursing a hamstring pulled sustained in the first half against Glasgow. Vainikolo’s promotion from the bench means that Welshman Tom James is recalled to first-team duty having recovered from an ankle injury sustained a fortnight ago.
The Warriors will arrive in town with a handful of former Chiefs within their ranks. Ignacio Mieres, Josh Matavesi, John Andress, Josh Drauniniu and Danny Gray have all previously pulled on the Exeter jersey and their knowledge of Chiefs life will ensure Dean Ryan’s side will themselves be prepared for battle.
“They have threats right across the board,” warned Chiefs assistant coach Ali Hepher. “They’ve got guys coming back from international duty with Argentina, they have some big ball carriers up front, whilst behind they have pace on the wings and at full-back. We know they can play for sure, so it’s up to us to guarantee we have our systems in place to deal with whatever they throw at us, whilst at the same time impose our own game plan on them.”
Hepher knows the importance of the clash, particularly as the visitors have yet to win this season, and says the Chiefs coaching staff have spent all week underlining the threat posed by the Midlanders.
“You only have to look at Worcester’s squad and you can see that it has quality running right through it,” said Hepher. “I’ve no doubt they will come through and win games, there is no question about that, but our prep has been perfect this week and we’ve put in a lot of hours looking at them.
“We’ve made sure we are fully prepared for the weekend and the messages we have been giving the players is that we have to be right on top of our game to get any kind of result this week.”
Tickets for the game are still available online through the Chiefs official website or the Trading Post.
Chiefs (to face Worcester Warriors): Dollman, Vainikolo, Shoemark; Hill, Jess, Steenson, Lewis; Sturgess, Yeandle, Tui, Mumm (capt), Welch, Johnson, White, Ewers.
Replacements: Whitehead, Moon, Brown, Armand, Horstmann, Thomas, Slade, James