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Baxter wary of 'dangerous' Quins

Exeter boss Rob Baxter knows it is a case of being "alert and aware for 80 minutes" when the Chiefs host Aviva Premiership opponents Harlequins on Sunday.

Quins will parade a familiar array of attacking talent at Sandy Park - players like England international Mike Brown, Marland Yarde and Danny Care - and Baxter accepts that Exeter need to keep their wits about them.

"We know they are dangerous," he said.

"They like to play a high-tempo game, but they can also grind things out if necessary. They have not had the success they've had by being one-dimensional.

"Obviously, they've got a number of key players who can break the game open for them, so we will need to keep an eye on them.

"They will have multiple threats, and they will look to add something new to their game this weekend. That is what they are good at, and they've chucked something unexpected at us before and caught us a couple of times like that.

"All week we have talked about being alert and aware for 80 minutes. That's always the challenge, but it always gets tougher against the better teams."

Exeter briefly led the Premiership following a 25-22 victory at Gloucester last Friday, and with 10 points already in the bag after three games it represents a solid start for Baxter's men as they prepare to greet Quins.

"I am massively pleased with last week," he added.

"It was an important win, and it shows if you collect a few points at the start of the season you can be there or thereabouts around the top. What we have to do now is maintain that form for as long as we can.

"I think what we have done well this season - and also in pre-season - is focus on ourselves.

"We've looked more at what we want to achieve and how we want to play, rather than worry too much about the opposition. That has worked well for us so far, so we are not going to stray too far from that strategy."

England wing Jack Nowell makes his first start of the season for Exeter after recovering from injury, while Phil Dollman is also called up, featuring at full-back. One other change from the side that beat Gloucester sees scrum-half Will Chudley in for Haydn Thomas, who was concussed at Kingsholm.

Quins, having got their season back on track following a crushing home defeat against Saracens by beating Wasps last time out, are unchanged following that narrow victory for the trip to Devon.

Newcastle, without a league win this season, face an Adams Park appointment with Wasps on Sunday, where their opponents beat Premiership champions Northampton a fortnight ago.

The Falcons show five changes from the side beaten at home by Saints last weekend, including first starts of the campaign for wing Alex Tait, centre Gonzalo Tiesi and scrum-half Ruki Tipuna as the Falcons look to end a run of three league defeats.

Wasps rugby director Dai Young, meanwhile, has rung the changes for Newcastle's visit, making a total of seven switches. Behind the scrum there are starts for Rob Miller, Sailosi Tagicakibau and Alapati Leiua, with Carlo Festuccia, Jake Cooper-Woolley, James Gaskell and Ed Jackson all featuring up-front.

"Newcastle are playing a good, expansive game of rugby, based around a very rugged pack," Young said.

"They have been very competitive in their three opening games, with the scorelines not really doing them justice. They will be a very tough challenge for us."


From Belfast Telegraph