Braves side to face Harlequins

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By Mark Stevens

Ricky Pellow has challenged his Exeter Braves side to follow the lead of the Chiefs and book themselves a place in the semi-finals of this season's Premiership Rugby Shield.

With the club's first team already assured of their place in the last four of the Gallagher Premiership, so last season's beaten Shield finalists are looking to build on what has been an impressive campaign to date.

Tonight, they welcome visiting Harlequins to Sandy Park (7:30pm), looking not only to secure a Shield double over the Londoners, but edge themselves ever closer to what they hope will be a home semi-final.

In what is the first of two tests for the Braves this week - on Sunday they make the short trip to Bristol Bears - Pellow is looking for his players to lay down a marker, not only in terms of the competition, but for overall selection with the Chiefs facing a busy end to the domestic season.

"Tonight is a great opportunity for the group to come together again in the Premiership Shield," said Pellow. "It's been a little while since we've played in the competition, but this is a huge week for us, starting with Harlequins this evening, then Bristol at the weekend.

"We're currently in a good position at the top of our group, but we know we have three big games still to play. Harlequins have always given us some good battles in this competition and we're expecting the same again tonight.

"You only have to look at some of their players in their side, guys like Tim Visser, Henry Cheeseman, Stan South, Mark Lambert and Luke Wallace, they've all played a lot of Premiership rugby, so they're going to be tough opponents for us."

Equally, the Braves are able to parade a powerful line-up, which will be headed up by fit-again skipper James Freeman. He packs down in an Exeter eight which includes international duo Elvis Taione and Greg Holmes in the front-row, while Mitch Lees and Ollie Atkins add some real grunt in the engineroom.

Behind, youngsters Sam Maunder and Harvey Skinner are entrusted with the playmaking roles, whilst a powerful back three trio is made up of Tom O'Flaherty, James Short and Phil Dollman.

Pellow added: "It's a strong squad we have put together, but now it's up to those guys to not only put in a performance tonight, but then look to back it up again on Sunday. Selection from the games at Leicester and Wasps the week after is very much up for debate, so we're looking for all the guys to go out there and really put their hands up."

Season Ticket Holders, 1905 Club and Gold Card members can gain FREE entry to the game as part of their seasonal package. For all others, admission is £10 for adults and £5 for Under-16s and students.

Parking is available at Sandy Park on a first come, first served basis. However, parking fees will be in operation. Selected bars and refreshment outlets will be open, as will the main Trading Post.


15 Phil Dollman
14 James Short
13 Max Bodilly
12 Tom Hendrickson
11 Tom O'Flaherty
10 Harvey Skinner
9 Sam Maunder
1 Billy Keast
2 Elvis Taione
3 Greg Holmes
4 Mitch Lees
5 Ollie Atkins
6 James Freeman (capt)
7 Sean Lonsdale
8 Tom Lawday

16 Jack Innard
17 Moray Low
18 Marcus Street
19 Toby Salmon
20 Onehunga Kaufusi
21 Joe Snow
22 Sam Morley
23 Harry Strong

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