On Sunday, the Exeter Chiefs and the Sale Sharks will meet in a Gallagher Rugby Premiership match, and both teams are likely to be eager to play a clean game.
Following last year’s heartbreaking loss in the championship game to Harlequins, Exeter have struggled to start the 2021-22 season, currently sitting at a record of 0-2. The Chiefs lost their home game against the Northampton Saints by a score of 26-24 due to a late penalty.
So far, sales are tied. The Sharks won their season opener by a score of 20-19 against Bath at home. Last week, Sale took a 31-14 halftime lead on the road against London Irish. After falling behind by two goals, the Exiles came roaring back to tie the game at 31.
The betting markets are still putting their money on the Chiefs to win. A 3.5-point away favorite, Exeter has been set as the favorite in this matchup.
This Sunday’s match at AJ Bell Stadium will begin at 10am ET. Temperatures of 59 degrees are predicted, with a wind speed of 14 miles per hour and rain showers.
Scotland Captain Hogg Back For Chiefs
Stars from Exeter are making their way back to the field. On Sunday at Sale, Scotland’s captain Stuart Hogg will make his first start of the season at fullback.
However, England internationals Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds, and Jonny Hill won’t be back in the lineup for Exeter for another week. Four of these world-famous athletes were members of the British and Irish Lions squad that spent the summer touring South Africa.
Scotland’s Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner, South Africa’s Jacques Vermeulen, and England’s Jack Nowell are all out with injuries and aren’t available either.
Rob Baxter, the Chiefs’ director of rugby, made six changes to the starting 15 since last week, including the addition of Hogg. Ben Moon, a former England international, and Josh Iosefa-Scott, a native of New Zealand, both make their first starts of the year in the prop positions. Fly-half Joe Skinner has been replaced by Harvey Simmons. Dave Ewers, the team’s winger, is back after a thumb operation, and Richard Capstick, who had been playing at number eight in place of Rus Tuima, moves up to that spot.
Revamped Sharks To Face Exeter
More than half of Sale’s starting 15 from when they let a big lead slip away against London Irish have been taken out of the lineup to face the Chiefs this weekend. There will be eight new faces on the Sharks’ roster this season.
The roster changes are partly due to injuries. Ben Curry, a starting flanker, was evaluated for a head injury and found to be out of commission. That’s like sneaking up on Cameron Neild from behind. As the hooker, Curtis Langdon is favored over Tommy Taylor.
Replacements for winger Byron McGuigan and fly-half AJ MacGinty are fullback Tom Roebuck and scrum-half Rob du Preez, respectively. A number of notable players, including former Chief Sam Hill, Springbok Rohan Janse van Rensburg, and England international Denny Solomona, are penciled in to start for Sale. This week Bevan Rodd joined the England training camp, so Ross Harrison started at loosehead for the first time this season.
Chiefs Chew Up Sharks
Last year, Exeter consistently defeated Sale. In the semi-final round of the playoffs, these two teams met, and the Chiefs emerged victorious, 40-30. At home, Exeter prevailed 20-19 during the regular season. The last time these two teams played at AJ Bell Stadium, Sale came out on top, 25-20.
It’s risky to give a home team 3.5 points, but Exeter should get a skewed result in the win column. Choose Kansas City Chiefs at even money for rugby betting.