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Chiefs wary of Italian upset

Exeter will aim to accomplish a successful Italian job on Saturday - and set up an Amlin Challenge Cup showdown with French heavyweights Perpignan.

The Chiefs should encounter few problems against Cavalieri Prato, opponents they crushed 68-0 at Sandy Park two months ago, and if Perpignan defeat Newport Gwent Dragons in France on Saturday, they will head to Devon next week with a quarter-final place available for the victors.

Exeter assistant coach Ali Hepher said: "Perpignan will be a big game, but if we get too far ahead of ourselves then that is when we are going to fall over."

Exeter show 12 changes from the side that won away against Aviva Premiership relegation favourites Newcastle last weekend, with only forward trio Hoani Tui, Aly Muldowney and James Phillips remaining in a team captained by fly-half Gareth Steenson.

Premiership strugglers Wasps can regain control of Pool Three if they defeat Italian hosts Rovigo on Saturday, having relinquished top spot to Bayonne who were 12-6 conquerors of Bordeaux-Begles on Thursday night.

Wasps, despite their domestic woe, will secure a last-eight berth by beating Rovigo and then Adams Park visitors Bordeaux on Sunday week.

"We have worked hard to get ourselves into a strong position in the table, and it is important now we get what we need to get us into the quarter-finals over the next two weekends," said rugby director David Young.

Former England scrum-half Shaun Perry will captain Worcester on Saturday when they look to remain on the tail of Pool One favourites Stade Francais by defeating Italian side Crociati at Sixways.

Wing Miles Benjamin is switched to outside centre, while fly-half Andy Goode gains the number 10 shirt following his match-winning exploits as a substitute against Gloucester last Saturday.

And in Pool Five, Sale Sharks head to Spain, where an anticipated bonus-point win against La Vila would see them meet Brive in a winner-takes-all encounter at Edgeley Park next Thursday night.


From Belfast Telegraph