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Shoemark: We must bring our A-game

Exeter centre Jason Shoemark has no doubt what will be required from the Chiefs when they host Aviva Premiership champions Leicester on Sunday.

Shoemark and company are up and running in the Premiership following successive victories over Wasps and London Irish, but the Tigers pose a formidable challenge.

"It is up to us to bring our A-game against them and hopefully get a result," Shoemark said.

"We aren't really happy with the performances we have put up yet, but sometimes you've got to win ugly and good teams do that.

"Last week we got the win with an okay performance (against Irish), but obviously that is not going to be good enough this week. We have to improve a lot.

"It is within us, but we have to dig deep and put in a performance on Sunday. I think we've shown throughout our tenure in the top flight that we never give up.

"Leicester are class, and the whole team is going to have to perform on Sunday. If we don't, then we could be looking at being on the wrong end of a big score."

And Exeter head coach Rob Baxter added: "Eight points from your first three games is a really good foundation to push on from.

"Now, though, we have to build on that foundation, collect some points - I don't mind how we get them - and just make sure we are comfortable with our level of performance.

"Leicester are the reigning champions for a reason, and you have to play well to beat them. We know we have to keep our foot on the gas."

Leicester will be without England centre Manu Tuilagi for their trip to Devon after he suffered a shoulder injury that is set to sideline him from this season's autumn internationals, but they welcome back his midfield partner Anthony Allen and lock Louis Deacon.

Tigers rugby director Richard Cockerill has also recalled Niall Morris, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling and Julian Salvi following last Saturday's victory over Newcastle.

Newcastle are boosted by the return of former Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair for Sunday's Kingston Park appointment with Gloucester.

Blair is among four changes following the loss at Welford Road, with hooker Matt Thompson and tighthead prop Oliver Tomaszczyk brought into the front-row and Ally Hogg starting at number eight.

Gloucester boss Nigel Davies also makes four changes, with wing Jonny May gaining a first start of the campaign and Shaun Knight, Will James and Ben Morgan all featuring in the pack.

"Newcastle are a well-drilled team, very well organised and they will always expect to get their results up there," Davies said.

"They are playing at home, and they will look to build a lead and put pressure on us.

"Historically, they've done exceptionally well against Gloucester. I've no doubt that they will target this as a win game for them.

"We've been able to analyse their first three games, and that tells us certain things. But they are a very difficult side to play against, and, if you get it wrong they will hurt you."


From Belfast Telegraph