Jack Nowell starts over Hogg for Exeter's semi-final against Sale Sharks

Jack Nowell starts over Hogg for Exeter's semi-final against Sale Sharks

For a sixth successive season, Exeter will line-up for a last-four showdown, knowing they are just one step away from running out at Twickenham in the end of the season showpiece.

Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter has made a surprising call at fullback with Jack Nowell replacing Stuart Hogg in the starting XV. Nowell returns from his knee injury and goes straight into the starting XV to face Sale Sharks at Sandy Park with Hogg taking a place on the bench alongside the addition of Don Armand.

Sam Skinner's red card last week resulted in a suspension while Dave Ewers also misses the game through suspension meaning Baxter has been forced into changes up front.

Jonny Gray comes in for fellow Scottish international Skinner in the second-row, while the absence of Ewers means Jannes Kirsten switches to blindside flank with Richard Capstick handed the No.7 jersey after an impressive cameo off the bench last week.

Speaking of the absence of both forwards Baxter admits those who step up now have the opportunity to make their mark.

“I’m not going to sit here and say what happened with Sam and Dave isn’t disappointing, because it has hurt us as a group,” added Baxter. “Equally, we have to use that hurt in a positive way and I’m certain that whoever steps up will be good in their own right because they themselves are good players.

“Stars are born now, that is how it happens. That bit of steel that finishes off where they need to go is created by moments like this. And that steel is created in furnaces, not running around on the sand or in the sea having a laugh. You do the hard work and get yourself in the thick of the fire, that is what those guys will have to do.”


15 Jack Nowell
14 Alex Cuthbert
13 Henry Slade
12 Ollie Devoto
|11 Tom O’Flaherty
10 Joe Simmonds (capt)
9 Jack Maunder
1 Alec Hepburn
2 Luke Cowan-Dickie
3 Harry Williams
4 Jonny Gray
5 Jonny Hill
6 Jannes Kirsten
7 Richard Capstick
8 Sam Simmonds

16 Jack Yeandle
17 Ben Moon
18 Marcus Street
19 Sean Lonsdale
20 Don Armand
21 Stu Townsend
22 Harvey Skinner
23 Stuart Hogg


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