Chiefs get injury boost ahead of derby

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Dave Ewers has returned to full training and could well feature for the Exeter Chiefs in Friday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Bath. Picture: Getty Images

By Mark Stevens

Exeter Chiefs have been handed a major boost ahead of Friday’s Gallagher Premiership trip to Bath with the news that two of their front-line stars are back in full training.

Flanker Dave Ewers and Tom O’Flaherty will both come back into the selection mix for the Devonians ahead of their Round Nine derby encounter at the Recreation Ground (7:45pm).

Ewers has not featured since the Chiefs won at Wasps on October 16, whilst O’Flaherty has been sidelined since the home clash with London Irish on October 23.

The news that both will be available, plus the return of many of the club’s international stars after the recent Autumn Nations Series, means Baxter has a powerful array of talent to choose from against their Westcountry rivals.

"We are an improved picture availability-wise because we have got some internationals back, fit and available which is good,” said Exeter Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter.

"Injury-wise we haven’t got stacks of players back and available, but Dave Ewers is now back and Tom O’Flaherty is also available. Those were guys who were unavailable before we went into the Premiership Rugby Cup games, so we are looking okay.

"We have got a decent group of players who have come back together really quickly this week and we are just looking to get back to business.”

As well as the return of Ewers and O’Flaherty, others returning to the Chiefs fold this week include the England trio of Jonny Hill, Henry Slade and Sam Simmonds, as well as Scottish duo Stuart Hogg and Sam Skinner; Wales’ Christ Tshiunza and Argentina’s Facundo Cordero.

New signing Santiago Grondona, who was also part of the Argentina squad during the recent Autumn Series, is expected to arrive in Exeter later this week, but won’t be available for the clash with Bath.

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