Henry Slade returns to Exeter's starting 15 after weeks out with shoulder injury
Exeter Chiefs prepare to welcome local rivals Bristol Bears to Sandy Park in the Premiership tomorrow afternoon.
Speaking ahead of the game, Rob Baxter told the clubs website: “We’ve got a big focus on Bristol and this weekend, This is the first of three big games coming up for us, so our performance levels, the way we want to play, plus the intensity we need to practice at should all come into play for this game.
“I know it looks to some that we are looking beyond this weekend’s game, but that’s not the case at all. We are looking at this game as the opportunity to get our game to the levels we know we have to be at when it comes to Europe in a few weeks’ time. For us, this weekend should be a stepping stone to being a better team and that is how we have focused this week ahead of the game.
“We expect the qualities of what the players show this weekend to be a definite stepping stone heading into Europe.”
Chiefs' Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dave Dennis and Jonny Hill all return to the starting 15 up front.
England centre Henry Slade, who's missed three games though injury, is brought into the midfield alongside Ian Whitten. Although back in full training, British Lions winger Jack Nowell is not included for this weekend’s match.
Full side to face Bristol:
15 Phil Dollman 14 Santiago Cordero 13 Henry Slade 12 Ian Whitten 11 Tom O’Flaherty 10 Gareth Steenson (capt) 9 Jack Maunder 1 Ben Moon 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie 3 Harry Williams 4 Dave Dennis 5 Jonny Hill 6 Sam Skinner 7 Sean Lonsdale 8 Matt Kvesic
16 Jack Yeandle 17 Alec Hepburn 18 Tomas Francis 19 Mitch Lees 20 Wilhelm Van der Sluys 21 Nic White 22 Joe Simmonds 23 Ollie Devoto