England international Jack Nowell will make his first post-lockdown appearance for Exeter Chiefs when the Gallagher Premiership leaders welcome Worcester Warriors to Sandy Park on Sunday.
The versatile back had injury troubles all through the 2019/20 Test season with England, featuring just once at the World Cup and then missing the four games of the Six Nations he team played before the tournament was suspended due to the pandemic.
Lockdown had been kind to Nowell’s body, however, allowing him the time and rest to get over all his niggles and after missing Exeter’s first three games of the restart, he now comes into an XV bulging with fellow stars names intent on building on victories over Leicester, Sale and Bristol.
Nowell is joined in a stellar backline by the likes of Stuart Hogg, Alex Cuthbert, Henry Slade and skipper Joe Simmonds. Up front, it’s an all-England front row of Ben Moon, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Harry Williams, while recent recruit Jonny Gray gets another home start alongside Jonny Hill in the Exeter engine room. The pack is completed with the all-action trio of Dave Ewers, Jacques Vermeulen and Sam Simmonds.
Head coach Ali Hepher said: “It’s another big test for us. We know every side is gunning for wins as it’s an important stage in the season. We have come through the last few games well – and have used the squad. They have bonded together to get the results we wanted.”
Worcester have named a completely different starting XV to the one that beat Harlequins comprehensively at Sixways on Wednesday. They give winged Alex Hearle his Premiership debut while back row Matt Cox is set to join the 100 club if he appears off a bench where the Warriors have gone for a six/two forwards and backs split.
EXETER: 15. Stuart Hogg; 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ian Whitten, 11. Alex Cuthbert; 10. Joe Simmonds (capt), 9. Jack Maunder; 1. Ben Moon, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Harry Williams, 4 Jonny Gray, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 8. Sam Simmonds. Reps: 16. Jack Innard, 17. Billy Keast, 18. Marcus Street, 19. Will Witty, 20. Richard Capstick, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Harvey Skinner, 23. Tom Hendrickson.
WORCESTER: 15. Scott van Breda; 14. Nick David, 13. Ashley Beck, 12. Will Butler (capt), 11. Alex Hearle; 10. Billy Searle, 9. Michael Heaney; 1. Callum Black, 2. Beck Cutting, 3. Richard Palframan, 4. James Scott, 5. Andrew Kitchener, 6. Tom Dodd, 7. Sam Lewis, 8. GJ van Velze. Reps: 16. Isaac Miller, 17. Lewis Holsey, 18. Joe Morris, 19. Justin Clegg, 20. Caleb Montgomery, 21. Matt Cox, 22. Jono Kitto, 23. Oli Morris.
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