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A post-World Cup rest? Not if you're an England player at Exeter

Henry Slade is set to start in the Premiership for Exeter just eight days after featuring for England in their World Cup final defeat to South Africa.

The centre, who came on in the 50th minute in Yokohama, comes straight back into the Chiefs XV that will host Bristol on Sunday at Sandy Park. 

But he won’t be the sole England World Cup player involved. Luke Cowan-Dickie, a 60th-minute replacement against the Springboks in the decider, has been chosen on the Exeter bench as has Jack Nowell, whose finals campaign in Japan was contrastingly largely restricted by injury. 

The return of the England trio to the Exeter matchday fold comes at the end of a week where the Chiefs have been very outspoken about the salary cap sanctions meted out to rivals Saracens. 

With the £5.3million fine and 35-point deduction now set for an appeal that is unlikely to be heard until the new year, Rob Baxter has admitted he held a team meeting on Friday with the aim of getting the focus firmly back on on-field matters. 

(Continue reading below…)

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“We’ve actually just cleared the decks a little bit in our meeting today [Friday] ,” explained Baxter on his club’s website. “I just sat in front of all the players and said, ‘What do you think of all this salary cap stuff?’ At first, they all looked at me a bit strangely, but I know they have all been talking about it and I know they will all feel differently about it all. 

“Some will feel sorry for themselves as they think things haven’t been all that fair. Others will be angry and others will be looking forward to playing Saracens again.

“Across the board, there are all kinds of emotions, but what I’ve just said to them all is let’s make sure we clarify what we are all about.

“We are a club that have an important Premiership game this Sunday. We’ve worked very hard to be here and this is what should occupy all of our energy.

“As I said to them all, it’s good not to run away from interesting conversations the lads are going to have amongst themselves, simply because by doing that it now allows us to get out and train really well for Bristol.”

WATCH: Former Saracens player Jim Hamilton discusses the salary cap scandal surrounding his former club

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A post-World Cup rest? Not if you're an England player at Exeter