sport

Exeter v Northampton preview

Exeter realistically need a bonus point win over Northampton on Saturday to give themselves any hope of reaching the LV= Cup semi-finals.

But even that will be academic should Harlequins gain two points from their game on Sunday.

The hosts are without Henry Slade, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joel Conlon, Sam Hill and Jack Arnott who are all involved with the England Under-20s in their opening Six Nations clash with Scotland.

It means Jack Yeandle, Alex Brown, James Hanks and Aly Muldowney are handed starts in the pack, whilst behind Ignacio Mieres, Ian Whitten and Mark Foster are also included from the outset.

The Chiefs have lost their last four games in all competitions and are also winless in their last three encounters at Sandy Park.

Northampton Saints currently top Pool 4 of the LV= Cup and a bonus point win would guarantee a place in this year's last four, maybe less if other results go their way.

The 2011/12 LV= Cup finalists have won just one of their last three away matches in all tournaments.

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder said: "We've worked hard to get into this position, and we know that our future in the competition is in our own hands. But we also know that we will be up against a tough Exeter team.

"Exeter play an expansive style of rugby and like to get their wide runners into play as much as possible. But they also have some strong forwards who can get them onto the front foot, and we will have to be alert in every area of the field.

"We had to be at our very best in the Premiership there at the start of January and will need a similar performance again this weekend. We're certainly not taking anything for granted."

Kick-off at Sandy Park is at 6.30pm.

Exeter: 15 Jack Nowell, 14 Watisoni Votu, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Josh Tatupu, 11 Mark Foster, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Kai Horstmann (capt), 7 Ben White, 6 Aly Muldowney, 5 James Hanks, 4 Damian Welch, 3 Alex Brown, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Carl Rimmer.

Replacements: 16 Tow Cowan-Dickie, 17 Chris Budgen, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Will Carrick-Smith, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Myles Dorrian, 23 Nic Sestaret.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 James Wilson, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 James Craig, 5 Christian Day, 4 Mark Sorenson, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.

Replacements: 16 Ross Mcmillan, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Ethan Waller, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Tom May.