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Rugby Union: Chiefs Head To Struggling Worcester


Exeter Chiefs, European and Premiership champions as recently as the 2019-20 season, are returning gradually to the form that made them, along with Saracens, the most feared team in England.

The Devon club have won their last four league games, beating Gloucester, Newcastle, Northampton and Sale, a winning run which has taken them up to fourth in the table and, therefore, if they retain that position, will make the play-offs.

Now that Worcester have dropped to the bottom of the league having been successful in only one of their last eight Premiership games, you’d fancy the Chiefs to make it five victories on the trot when they play at Sixways.

So just as Worcester’s new head man, Steve Diamond, is going through a rough patch, by contrast, his opposite number at Exeter, Rob Baxter, is glowing as his head coach, Ali Hepher.

Bearing in mind that Worcester have the worst defence in the league – 90 tries have been conceded – you’d put money on the Chiefs winning and possibly earning a bonus point as well.

The Exeter pack, always powerful, has been strengthened by the return of their South African forward, Jacques Vermeulen, who was in outstanding form in the recent victory – 19-12 against Sale Sharks.

You can see how Worcester, being rebuilt for next season by Diamond, are struggling by looking at their record – only four victories in 18 matches and 13 defeats – Exeter have won 11 times in 18 contests with seven losses.

Sale & Gloucester clash at the AJ Bell Stadium

The Sharks have such an excellent record at their home ground in Manchester..losing only once in any competition in the last 12 months – that you’d tip them to beat Gloucester on Saturday.

Both clubs, sixth against seventh, are realistically challenging to finish in the top four and in this exciting race, both teams are evenly matched.

So, the contest at the AJ Bell Stadium should be close with the home team having the advantage. Sale suffered a set-back last weekend, losing at Exeter by 19-12, so they’ll be fully prepared to bounce back from that defeat which ended their unbeaten run of five Premiership games.

Expect a big contribution from fly half AJ MacGinty who’s keen to finish his spell in the North West by taking his club into the play-offs before he joins Bristol.

Hooker Ewan Ashman is another top player in the Sharks’ side who has the power and speed to break defences as they take on a Gloucester team which is in pretty good form with three wins in their last four Premiership matches.

When it comes to their records this season so far in attack and defence, there’s very little to choose between them – Sale have scored 55 tries in 18 games and have conceded 47, and Gloucester have touched down 57 times and have seen their line crossed on 51 occasions.