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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Exeter look more settled for trip to Wasps

Gloucester can continue impressive form in derby clash at Bath

A strong lineout is a feature of Exeter's play
1 of 1

Wasps v Exeter
BT Sport 1, 2pm Saturday
Bath v Gloucester
BT Sport 1, 4.30pm Saturday

Wasps coach Dai Young wants to make the Ricoh Arena a fortress for his side this season, but his side will need to step up from last week’s shaky win at Worcester if they are to overcome Exeter.

Nine home wins from 12 last season was a decent return for Wasps, especially given that two of those defeats came early in the season amid a host of injuries while the third was to champions Saracens.

But while there was plenty of rust in Wasps' system last week, Exeter seemed to slip straight into gear in a 40-6 thrashing of Leicester and they look sure to turn up in Coventry meaning business.

Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has had to tinker with his team after Olly Woodburn and Nic White picked up injuries but the line-up still has a settled look to it.

Wasps fans should get their first look at summer signing Lima Sopoaga as the All Blacks fly-half is named on the bench, while another new arrival Brad Shields starts in the back row.

Youngster Billy Searle is again handed the number ten shirt until the inevitable introduction of Sopoaga, who could be faced with the tough task of trying to turn things around for an unfamiliar group of teammates.

Exeter look to have all the stability and continuity and can cover a modest handicap against a Wasps side who may still be working to gel as a team.

Next up in a TV double-header is a West Country derby between teams who had differing fortunes in round one.

Bath were beaten by promoted Bristol in a historic clash at Ashton Gate, but were in many ways architects of their own downfall due to spurned opportunities.

Gloucester stole the Saturday headlines after their home victory over Northampton, in which Danny Cipriani was hugely impressive in his first competitive match for the club.

The Cherry & Whites have a well-drilled pack and dangerous backs, so Cipriani's own flair and talent knitted those two together well.

Gloucester won just three away matches in the Premiership last season, although one of those was a single-point success at Bath, and aren't easy to back on the road.

But the strength of their set-piece and the confidence in the side after that opening win makes them worth chancing with a small start.

Exeter -3
1pt 10-11 general
Gloucester +4
1pt 10-11 general

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There was plenty of rust in Wasps' system last week, Exeter seemed to slip straight into gear in a 40-6 thrashing of Leicester
E.W. Terms
Sky bet