EXETER Chiefs are boosted by the return to fitness of lock Jonny Hill and England centre Henry Slade.

The pair will start on the bench for the Chiefs’ Premiership clash against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday evening (7.45pm).

Also on a strong Exeter bench are Luke Cowan-Dickie, Alec Hepburn, Tomas Francis, Tom Lawday, Nic White and Phil Dollman.

The Chiefs stick with a largely with the side that claimed a pre-Christmas 31-13 home victory over title-rivals Saracens, although there are a few changes.

In the forwards, England props Ben Moon and Harry Williams will pack down alongside Tongan hooker Elvis Taione, while Mitch Lees comes into the second-row in place of Dave Dennis. Behind, Ollie Devoto gets the nod in the centre alongside Ian Whitten in the sole change to the back division.

Director of rugby Rob Baxter is hoping his side can back up their performance against Saracens with a similar powerful display at Northampton.

“Saturday was a good performance, one that we needed, and one that will give us some confidence going forward,” said Baxter. “I think what it showed, however, is that we can actually face any team down on our day and go well.

“The good thing for as coaches looking back at the game is that we know we weren’t faultless. There were still areas we can work on. Some of the crispness to our handling wasn’t always great, and the scrum went back and forth at times in the game. The good thing, however, was that we were prepared to work hard, stick at things, not get dented and not worry about mistakes, and those are some great qualities to have in a side.”


15 Joe Simmonds
14 Santiago Cordero
13 Ian Whitten
12 Ollie Devoto
11 Tom O’Flaherty
10 Gareth Steenson (capt)
9 Jack Maunder
1 Ben Moon
2 Elvis Taione
3 Harry Williams
4 Mitch Lees
5 Sam Skinner
6 Sean Lonsdale
7 Don Armand
8 Matt Kvesic

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie
17 Alec Hepburn
18 Tomas Francis
19 Jonny Hill
20 Tom Lawday
21 Nic White
22 Henry Slade
23 Phil Dollman




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