Aviva Premiership: Leicester face Exeter in Sunday's clash at Welford Road
Last Updated: 23/03/14 7:50am
Exeter Chiefs will look to replicate their triumphant LV= Cup efforts when they travel to Welford Road to take on Leicester Tigers in Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash.
Buoyed by their 15-8 win over Northampton Saints in the Anglo-Welsh showpiece last Sunday, the Devon club will aim to get themselves back amongst the division's top six clubs.
Currently positioned eighth in the standings, the Chiefs are seven points adrift of Sale Sharks, who occupy the final berth in the all-important top six.
Although victorious last time out, head coach Rob Baxter has been forced to tinker with his winning formula.
Up front try-scoring hooker Chris Whitehead misses out on facing his former club due to a neck injury, so Jack Yeandle returns to the Exeter front-row alongside props Hoani Tui and Ben Moon.
Behind, the Chiefs are also bolstered by the return of Irishman Ian Whitten in the centre and England winger Jack Nowell, who returns for the first time having played in all five Six Nations games for Stuart Lancaster's side.
The men who miss out are Jason Shoemark and Matt Jess, the latter of whom drops down to the bench.
Meanwhile, fit-again Manu Tuilagi makes his first home appearance since the opening month of the season for fourth-placed Tigers who are aiming for a fifth Premiership win in a row.
The 22-year-old Tuilagi returned from a five-month absence due to a chest muscle injury to play in the win at Newcastle Falcons in the last round and then gained his 22nd England cap in the win over Italy last weekend.
Tuilagi teams up with Anthony Allen at centre, while Dan Bowden has been ruled out after appendix surgery.
Top try-scorer Vereniki Goneva and Adam Thompstone are on the wings and Mathew Tait is at full-back as Tigers begin the six-game run-in to the end of the season.
Scrum-half Ben Youngs makes the 100th starting appearance of his Tigers career and, with dad Nick will become the second father-and-son duo to reach this mark in the club's history, following Ian and Matt Smith.
Ed Slater leads the team as captain and Julian Salvi returns to the back row.
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 4 Louis Deacon, 5 Ed Slater (c), 6 Jamie Gibson, 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Jordan Crane.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mele, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Scott Hamilton.
Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 1 Ben Moon, 2 Jack Yeandle, 3 Hoani Tui, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 5 Damian Welch, 6 Dave Ewers,
7 Ben White, 8 Kai Horstmann.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Don Armand, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Matt Jess.
Fri 24th Apr
Bath43 - 18London Irish
Sat 25th Apr
Sale Sharks23 - 25Harlequins
Gloucester42 - 40Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers38 - 17London Welsh
Northampton25 - 20Saracens
Sun 26th Apr
Wasps36 - 29Exeter
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 17
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill remains hopeful of holding on to winger Vereniki Goneva despite interest from France.
Leicester consolidated fourth place in the Aviva Premiership with a 45-15 thumping of Exeter at Welford Road on Sunday.
Neal Hatley was full of praise for fly-half George Ford after Bath's 44-23 away victory over London Irish.