Exeter v Wasps - Aviva Premiership match preview
Last Updated: 01/12/12 4:53pm
Exeter Chiefs will put their unbeaten home Premiership record on the line on Saturday when they host Wasps.
Buoyed by their first-ever win at the Madejski Stadium, the Chiefs see little reason to tinker with their winning formula and head coach Rob Baxter has named an unchanged 23 for the match.
Wasps welcome back a trio of players who have been on international duty in recent weeks.
Prop Zak Taulafo, who impressed for Samoa in a strong November campaign with his country, starts at loosehead this weekend, while England's Tom Palmer packs down in the second-row.
Italy's Andrea Masi also returns and is named on the bench, with Lee Thomas coming in at inside centre in the only change to the backline from last weekend's win over Leicester Tigers.
Wasps are searching for a first away win in the league this year on the back of some very positive home form.
Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (c), 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Simon Alcott, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Hoani Tui, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.
Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James Cannon, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Andrea Masi.
What they said...
Exeter head coach Rob Baxter
"To get a couple of monkeys off our back, like our first away (league) win and our first win at the Madejski, is quite a big thing for us at this stage of the season. It was a very good day for us, especially considering how the other results went," said Baxter.
"We really targeted an away win because you can see from the way the table lies, it's the side that breaks the cycle of winning, losing, winning, losing that are going to start moving up the table.
"It's great to have got that win, we worked hard for it and focused on it for quite a long period of time."
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young
Young said: "Exeter are a very good team and are very difficult to beat but there is no reason why we can't go to Sandy Park and get a victory.
"We were pleased with our win last weekend but we are going to have to be better this Saturday down in Exeter. We are going to have to be more accurate."