Home Rugby Premier League: Exeter Chiefs vs. Seal Sharks (Saturday)

Premier League: Exeter Chiefs vs. Seal Sharks (Saturday)

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Salé beat 14 Exeter players 25-20 when the two teams met at the end of February
Place: Sandy Park Date: Saturday 12th June Starting: 15:00 GMT coverage: Updates on local BBC Radio and live scores on the BBC Sport website

Exeter welcomes the return of influential winger Dave Ewers in the Premier League’s clash with rival Sally.

Alec Hepburn returns on support while Alex Cuthbert starts on the wing in place of Facundo Cordero. Ole Devoto favors Ian Witten in the center.

Sale is making four changes with Manu Tuilagi who has started a game for the first time since then An Achilles tendon rupture in Northampton in September.

British lion Tom Curry replaces his brother Ben in the back row.

Curry will lead the Sale team with Cobus Wiese replacing Josh Beaumont on lock and preferring Arron Reed over Marland Yard on the wing.

Exeter is in an excellent position to finish second and secure a semi-final at home against Sale next weekend – they just need an extra point to finish in the top two.

Sale should get to win the bonus points and hope the Exeter won’t get the scoring attempt bonus or lose if they want to take the Chiefs to AJ Bell Stadium in the semi-finals.

Exeter can still finish top of the table if they win and Bristol lose or draw at home to London Irish and fail to score any additional points.

“That’s strange, with a five-point lead,” Exeter rugby club director Rob Baxter told BBC Sport.

“If someone said to me six or seven weeks ago: ‘Would you have won five points before Salé went into the last game and had to play Salé? “I would take advantage of that every day of the week,” I took every season.

“It’s amazing what I saw at the weekend, I saw a lot of different people and TV pundits saying that for the first time in a while Exeter was under pressure for a semi-final match at home.

“But we won six or seven in a row, and Sale won eight. This has been happening for the past two or three months that we’ve been going forward, and Sale has caught up with us.”

The in-game sellout entered an eight-game winning streak for the club and has only lost once in 11 games since then. By beating Exeter 25-20 at home on February 26.

Rugby manager Alex Sanderson says the fact that they are still vying for second place as they enter the match with the Premier League champions is a testament to his side’s attitude.

“We have always been amazed at the mentality of these boys on and off the field, they are really convinced,” he told BBC Radio in Manchester.

“All the way I didn’t have to convince, I didn’t have to convince, I didn’t even have to give them choice, they just bought from day one.

“That was the most refreshing and surprising aspect of the next round. It’s their application that got us where we are at this point in the season as well as we are.”

Exeter: Hough. Cuthbert, Slade; DeVoto, O’Flaherty; c. Symonds (Capt), J. Maunder; Hepburn, Kwan Dickey, Williams, S Skinner, Hill, Ewers, Kirsten, S Symonds

Alternatives: Yeandle, Moon, Street, Lonsdale, Capstick, Townsend, H Skinner, Whitten

sale: Hammersley. McGuigan, S.; James, Twilagy, Reid; MacGinty, writer; Harrison, van der Merwe, Oosthuizen, Wiese, J. L. du Preez, Neild, T Curry (capt), D du Preez

Alternatives: Langdon, Rudd, John, Phillips, B Carrey, Cliff, R Do Breeze, Jancy Van Rensburg

Rule: Carl Dixon

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