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Team News: Baxter Names Chiefs for Investec Champions Cup Third Round



Rob Baxter has made five changes to his starting line-up for Chiefs’ Investec Champions Cup Round Three clash against Glasgow Warriors at Sandy Park on Saturday, January 13.

The changes begin in the front row with the familiar face of Alec Hepburn. The loosehead prop makes his first start of the season having featured off the bench in recent weeks following his return from glandular fever.

Jack Yeandle captains the side from hooker with Ehren Painter the other side of him in the tighthead berth.

Rusi Tuima and Lewis Pearson start in the boiler room of the second row as Dafydd Jenkins is absent from the matchday side.

The hard-hitting back row remains intact as Jacques Vermeulen and Ethan Roots start on the flanks with Greg Fisilau at eight.

Tom Cairns returns to the starting line-up, as Stu Townsend moves to the bench. Harvey Skinner starts alongside Cairns at fly-half. There is a new-look centre partnership on the field as Rory O’Loughlin partners Henry Slade with Joe Hawkins on the bench.

The back three is becoming a familiar one as Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and Ben Hammersley start on the wings with Tommy Wyatt at fullback.

Director of Rugby Rob Baxter says his side are looking to keep momentum as they head back into the prestigious competition this weekend.

“Obviously there was some emotional disappointment following the Northampton game last weekend, there were some learnings for us, but I think we’ve dealt with those things now and we’re ready to move on.”

“In recent years, we’ve had a lot of ambition to do well at the frontline of the Investec Champions Cup competition. It’s always peaked our interest and peaked our energy.”

“The truth is the lads are really excited about these two weeks – they’re looking forward to the Glasgow game and the Bayonne trip. First and foremost, we want to put a big performance on the pitch. Everything around them is positive at the moment, but a lot of what happens is down to them and how hard they’re working.”

Dan Frost, Nika Abuladze and Josh Iosefa-Scott form the replacement front row. Matt Postlethwaite and Ross Vintcent can then be called upon for the second and back row.

For backline cover, Townsend and Hawkins are named alongside Zack Wimbush.

Exeter Chiefs:

15 Tommy Wyatt

14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

13 Henry Slade

12 Rory O’Loughlin

11 Ben Hammersley

10 Harvey Skinner

9 Tom Cairns

1 Alec Hepburn

2 Jack Yeandle (c)

3 Ehren Painter

4 Rusi Tuima

5 Lewis Pearson

6 Ethan Roots

7 Jacques Vermeulen

8 Greg Fisilau


16 Dan Frost

17 Nika Abuladze

18 Josh Iosefa-Scott

19 Matt Postlethwaite

20 Ross Vintcent

21 Stu Townsend

22 Joe Hawkins

23 Zack Wimbush

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

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Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.  

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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