Heineken Cup Pool 2: Exeter Chiefs v Glasgow match preview
Last Updated: 11/01/14 3:25pm
Exeter Chiefs host Glasgow knowing that a victory this weekend and next against Cardiff could be enough to see his side qualify for the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The Chiefs will have a new look to their line-up at Sandy Park as head coach Rob Baxter shuffles his pack.
Just five players - James Hanks, Tom Johnson, Dave Lewis, Henry Slade and Luke Arscott - remain in the starting line-up from that which took to the field in the narrow loss to Wasps at Adams Park last Sunday.
In what has been a testing run of games for the Chiefs, Baxter hopes a return to home comforts will help to reignite the winning spark within his side.
"First and foremost we have to concentrate on ourselves," he said.
"It's nice in some ways to have a break from the Premiership because having these different cup competitions allows us to get our teeth sunk into something else. In turn it will also help get ourselves well prepped for our return to the Premiership."
He added: "If we can bang in a couple of wins then the opportunity is possibly there for us still to qualify in the Amlin.
"In some ways qualifying for the latter stages of the Amlin through the Heineken would be a bigger achievement than if you qualified normally through the competition. There is still a lot to play for."
Meanwhile, Gregor Townsend has named the same team that would have played against Edinburgh last week but for a waterlogged pitch at Scotstoun, so the same 23 players have been given another chance to impress.
After six weeks out of action with an ankle injury Sean Lamont returns on the left wing, while Stuart Hogg starts at full-back and Sean Maitland occupies the right wing berth.
Byron McGuigan and Alex Dunbar form a new centre partnership, with Ruaridh Jackson and Henry Pyrgos at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.
In the forwards Ryan Grant continues at loosehead, with Dougie Hall at hooker and Ed Kalman at tighthead. Tim Swinson and Tom Ryder once again combine in the second row.
In the back-row Rob Harley continues on the blind-side, with captain Chris Fusaro at openside and Josh Strauss starting at number eight.
"These next two games are important fixtures for the club as we aim to build momentum ahead of a very important part of the season," said Townsend.
"Exeter Chiefs continue to show how a good a side they are. They were unlucky to lose at Wasps last weekend and pushed Toulon close in both of their back-to-back games last month.
"They play an ambitious brand of rugby and have been consistent in their level of performance this season.
"We've not performed to the level we're capable of so far in this tournament, so we're looking to produce our best rugby over the next couple of weeks."
Exeter Chiefs:15 Arscott (capt), 14 Vainikolo, 13 Naqelevuki, 12 Hill, 11 Jess, 10 Slade, 9 Lewis; 1 Rimmer, 2 Cowan-Dickie, 3 Brown, 4 Welch, 5 Hanks, 6 Johnson, 7 Scaysbrook, 8 Horstmann.
Replacements: 16 Bateman, 17 Moon, 18 Fairbrother, 19 Graham, 20 Armand, 21 Chudley, 22 Sweeney, 23 Whitten.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Hogg, 14 Maitland, 13 McGuigan, 12 Dunbar, 11 Lamont, 10 Jackson, 9 Pyrgos; 1 Grant, 2 Hall, 3 Kalman, 4 Swinson, 5 Ryder, 6 Harley, 7 Fusaro (capt), 8 Strauss.
Replacements: 16 MacArthur, 17 Yanuyanutawa, 18 Welsh, 19 Nakarawa, 20 Eddie, 21 Wilson, 22 Matawalu, 23 Weir.