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Exeter make one XV change, Stormers two for quarter-final clash

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Exeter have confirmed that their team for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at home to the Stormers contains just one change from last weekend’s round-of-16 elimination XV against Montpellier.


Rob Baxter’s side squeezed past the French champions on the try count rule following a 33-all draw after extra time and the director of rugby has opted to keep faith with the exact same starting team that was originally picked for that match.

Olly Woodburn had been chosen at left wing last weekend but he was late cry-off on matchday, his place going to Rory O’Loughlin. That decision had now been reversed, with Woodburn chosen to start in an XV that is otherwise unchanged.

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There is also one bench alteration with Stuart Hogg shaking off an ankle issue to replace Josh Hodge as the 23rd man.

The URC champion Stormers, who last weekend comfortably saw off Harlequins in Cape Town, have changed two of their starting back row with Junior Pokomela and Marcel Theunisse promoted from the bench in place of the absent Deon Fourie and the benched Hacjivah Dayimani.


Fourie, who tweeted on Thursday about his altercation with Joe Marler in the round of 16, has a fractured cheekbone. It was officially described as a ‘medial orbital wall fracture’ in the Stormers’ team release. The absence of the back-rower could be huge as he was the man of the match against Quins.

EXETER: 15. Tom Wyatt; 14. Jack Nowell (capt), 13. Henry Slade, 12. Sean O’Brien, 11. Olly Woodburn; 10. Joe Simmonds, 9. Will Becconsall; 1. Scott Sio, 2. Dan Frost, 3. Marcus Street, 4. Jonny Gray, 5. Dafydd Jenkins, 6. Jannes Kirsten, 7. Christ Tshiunza, 8. Sam Simmonds. Reps: 16. Jack Yeandle, 17. Nika Abuladze, 18. Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19. Aidon Davis, 20. Dave Ewers, 21. Tom Cairns, 22. Harvey Skinner, 23. Stuart Hogg.


STORMERS: 15. Damian Willemse; 14. Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13. Ruhan Nel, 12. Daniel du Plessis, 11. Seabelo Senatla; 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Herschel Jantjies; 1. Steven Kitshoff (capt), 2. Joseph Dweba, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Ernst van Rhyn, 5. Marvin Orie, 6. Junior Pokomela, 7. BJ Dixon, 8. Marcel Theunissen. Reps: 16. JJ Kotze, 17. Ali Vermaak, 18. Neethling Fouche, 19. Gary Porter, 20. Willie Engelbrecht, 21. Hacjivah Dayimani, 22. Paul de Wet, 23. Clayton Blommetjies.


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Wonton 5 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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Nick 6 hours ago
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Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

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