London Wasps v Exeter Chiefs - Aviva Premiership match preview
Last Updated: 21/04/13 12:59pm
London Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has made seven changes to his line-up for Sunday's crunch clash with Exeter.
The match has massive implications on the race for a top-six place - and a spot in the Heineken Cup.
Having fielded a slightly weakened team against Leicester, Young welcomes back fit-again Stephen Jones, T Rhys Thomas, Phil Swainston and James Haskell.
Andrea Masi and Joe Launchbury were both rested against the Tigers, while Joe Simpson started on the the bench - however the trio are also named in the starting XV.
Exeter, on the other hand, have kept faith in their line up following a 27-6 win over London Irish last time out.
The Chiefs have one four of their last five past encounters and now lead Bath by two points and Wasps by three in the race for sixth spot.
Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell (c), 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Joe Launchbury, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Will Taylor, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Hugo Southwell.
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 (c), 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Ben White, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Ian Whitten.
What they said...
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young
"This Sunday's fixture is huge for both clubs, there's no two ways about it.
"In the chase for a spot in the top six this is a crunch game. We know that Exeter will come to Adams Park without any fear and they will test us defensively so we are going to have to be up to that challenge."
Exeter boss Rob Baxter
"It does feel like it is the final this weekend, primarily because we have been on a run of games where slipping up would have cost us a chance of finishing in the top six.
"Fortunately, that hasn't happened. The last five games have brought four wins and a very narrow loss [against Leicester]. That has kept us in the fight and now we find ourselves in a situation where ourselves, Wasps and Bath are pretty much fighting it out for one slot.
"That means there are some massive games to be played over these last two weeks to decide who will be in the Heineken Cup next season. Personally, I think it's a fantastic place for us to be at this stage of the season, still in there fighting for it with two games remaining."
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 21
Exeter coach Rob Baxter praised his side after they closed on a place in the Heineken Cup by winning at Wasps.
Exeter closed on the sixth and final Heineken Cup spot for next season with a 37-24 bonus-point victory over Wasps.
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