Chiefs side to face Wasps
27th January 2017
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Ricky Pellow says his Exeter Chiefs will need to be "up for fight" ahead of tomorrow's latest Anglo-Welsh encounter against Wasps at Sandy Park (3pm).

 After two rounds of battle, the Chiefs are positioned second in Pool 2, a point adrift of the Ospreys, who play host to Bristol in Bridgend. 

Cornishman Pellow is well aware the Chiefs must not only make the most of home advantage this weekend against their Premiership counterparts, but at the same time produce a performance that keeps them very much in the hunt for qualification entering into the final round in a week's time. 

Having reached the past two finals of the Anglo-Welsh competition, winning it in 2014 against Northampton Saints, then losing narrowly to Saracens a year later, Devon's finest are hellbent on trying to advance for a third time. 

"Any competition we play in we always look to attack it," said Pellow, who as has been the case for a number of years now has been handed control of the Chiefs team by head coach Rob Baxter. 

"For me, it's an easy transition to step up. I've had this role in this competition for the last four years now and I've learnt along the way. Rob tends to take a step back from things, but he still oversees certain things and is always there to help and guide me if needs be.

 "For my own development, though, it's a great experience as it allows me to be at the forefront of meetings and the training sessions." 

With Pellow at the helm, others are also given their chance - particularly certain members of the squad who have been on the periphery of regular match action this season. 

Pellow added: "It's actually quite refreshing to go into a new competition with a new group of players, all of whom really want to make their mark. In terms of the balance of the squad, it's a great opportunity for a number of the guys and I know they are all really looking forward to it. 

"Wasps, we know, will be a tough test. You only have to look at the games we've had with them over the last two years, whether it's in the Premiership, Europe or even the A League, they've all been really close. 

"Like ourselves they have a very strong squad, so we'll have to fight really hard to rip the game away from them. As we know with any game, we need to be physical, front up and cancel out their threats. At the same time we have to put our own game on them, so it should be a good test for us." 

Although Pellow insists the focus is solely on tomorrow's encounter, the Chiefs will be aware that for them to stand any chance of advancing, a victory is imperative to keep their dream alive ahead of next week's final qualification fixture away to Bristol. 

"The Ospreys have Bristol in Bridgend this weekend, so that will be a big test for Bristol," said Pellow. "Right now they [the Ospreys] are in front by a point, but we can't really afford to worry too much about them. Instead we have to focus on ourselves and the performance we put in. 

"Our priority this weekend has to be to win the game and if we're in a position to get a bonus point, then I'm sure that will put us in good stead. Right now we know things are not in our hands, especially if the Ospreys keep winning, but like with any competition if you're in the fight at the end, you always have a chance." 

In a mix of youth and experience selected by the Chiefs, young back-row forward Sam Skinner skippers a side, which also includes fellow young guns Sam Simmonds, Stu Townsend, Joe Simmonds and Max Bodilly. 

There is also a healthy blend of senior stars with Carl Rimmer, Tomas Francis, Mitch Lees Damian Welch and Ben White starting up front, while behind the back division includes international duo Michele Campagnaro and Lachie Turner and powerhouse centre Sam Hill. 

Meanwhile on the bench, Under-18s starlet Joe Snow gets his maiden outing with the Chiefs first team, where he will be joined by the returning Geoff Parling, Will Hooley and Matt Jess, the latter of whom has not seen action since picking up a significant toe injury for the Braves in their A League game away to Saracens back in September. 

15 Lachie Turner

14 Max Bodilly

13 Michele Campagnaro

12 Sam Hill

11 James Short

10 Joe Simmonds

9 Stuart Townsend

1 Carl Rimmer

2 Shaun Malton

3 Tomas Francis

4 Mitch Lees

5 Damian Welch

6 Sam Skinner (capt)

7 Ben White

8 Sam Simmonds

 

16 Jack Innard

17 Moray Low

18 Jack Owlett

19 Geoff Parling

20 Tom Lawday

21 Joe Snow

22 Will Hooley

23 Matt Jess

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