With the penultimate Heineken cup pool stage looming this weekend Exeter’s pursuit to qualify to the knockout stages look over. This weekend’s game with Glasgow Warriors has the distinct scent of a wooden spoon decider with the teams sat a mere point apart at the wrong end of pool 2.
From a promising start in this year’s cup Exeter were top if merely on point’s difference leading into their double header with Toulon. But lasts seasons champions were in no mood to forgive defensive errors made by the plucky Devon side and the two successive losses meant they slipped from first to third.
The Glasgow side never looked like progressing, with only one win in the competition this season. This win however came against the Exeter side in a closely thought contest at the Scotstoun Stadium the Warriors finally beating the Chiefs 20-16. However the Devon side are usually a different prospect at their Sandy Park home.
A massive loss for the Scottish side will be losing their captain, talisman and Scottish international lock Alistlair Kellock after he underwent arm surgery. It’s not all plain sailing in the Chiefs camp either, with club captain Dean Mumm also set to miss out; finding players to fill the void left behind by these influential players could be the difference between victory and defeat come half past two.
Exeter will be looking to apiece there loss in Scotland and stop a run of games that have seen them win only one of their last eight matches in both the league and cup competitions. But Richard Baxter’s men are confident they can overturn there defeat from the reverse fixture and come away with a win this afternoon.
Luke Arscott vs Stuart Hogg
Devon born and bred Arscott takes over the captains role in Dean Mumm’s absence, but he’s going to have a tough time dealing with opposite number Stuart Hogg. Arscott, Chiefs player of the year last year and the first-choice full-back in the Aviva Premiership’s Team of the Year is going to have to watch for the quick line breaks that saw Hogg shoot to prominence in last year’s six nations. His rise to prominence to become a star in the Scottish jersey eventually saw him travel to Australia with the Lions.
This afternoon’s game is sure to be a spectacle; Exeter’s unique style of attacking play that has seen them rise from a Championship club to competing with Europe’s elite whatever the conditions is a joy to behold. But by missing ninety-two tackles in the competition already you can almost guarantee line breaks from the Warriors and an action packed eighty minutes.