Worcester prepare for Sandy Park bow
December 2, 2011
Ignacio Mieres capped a remarkable comeback from Exeter last weekend with his last-gasp try against Sale © PA Photos
Exeter Chiefs and Worcester Warriors meet for the first time in the Aviva Premiership at Sandy Park on Saturday and both sides go into the historic clash on a high.
The hosts are still buzzing after scoring a staggering 23 unanswered second-half points on their way to a dramatic 30-23 victory over Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park last weekend which lifted the Chiefs up to fifth in the table.
Worcester, meanwhile, are buoyant at the minute after pulling nine points clear of basement boys Newcastle with a hard-earned 16-7 victory over Bath at Sixways. However, while Exeter have lost their last two at home in the league, Worcester have struggled on the road this season. Indeed, their last Premiership away win came all the way back in April 2009, at Gloucester.
Exeter Chiefs - Player to Watch: Fly-half Ignacio Mieres was dubbed the hero at Sale as it was his try 40 seconds from time that ensured Exeter of only their second away win of the season. Will he be the hero again having been handed the No.10 shirt?
Exeter Chiefs - Team News: The Chiefs have made three changes to their starting line-up from that which won last time out. In the front row, Welsh international Craig Mitchell is handed his first-ever Premiership start at the expense of Hoani Tui, whilst the half-backs are also changed with Haydn Thomas and Mieres replacing Pat Phibbs and Gareth Steenson.
Worcester Warriors - Player to Watch: Winger Miles Benjamin was in try-scoring mood last weekend - will he catch the eye again at Sandy Park?
Worcester Warriors - Team News: Prop Bruce Douglas and lock James Percival are both recalled to the Warriors' starting line-up. Scotland international Douglas replaces Matt Mullan in the front row, joining forces with Ed Shervington and Tevita Taumoepeau. Percival returns to the second row where he lines up alongside Craig Gillies, a move that means Chris Jones can move to No.8 with Sam Betty and Matt Kvesic also operating in the back row. Prop Oliver Tomazczyk is declared fit to take his place among the replacements while Dale Rasmussen will captain the Warriors against his former club.
Key Battle: Worcester had a field day at the lineout against Bath last weekend but are unlikely to get everything their own way against Exeter when it comes to the set piece.
Trivia: Even though these two have met regularly in different competitions over the past 14 years, this will be Worcester's first ever visit to Sandy Park
Stats: Exeter fly-half Ignacio Mieres has nailed just over 81% of his strikes on goal so far this season
"I think the last time we played them in the league I was playing, so it shows we haven't played them for a while."
"We will have to meet them up front and be physical, if we don't we will lose. I don't think there is much to choose between the teams and in our last two league games we have picked up six points."
Prediction: Expect Exeter to maintain the feel-good factor and ensure more away day blues for the Warriors.
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