Aviva Premiership: Wasps v Exeter Preview

Aviva-Premiership-Wasps-versus-Exeter-Preview

It will be a repeat of last year's Grand Final when the London Wasps and Exeter Chiefs square off at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday the 18th of February.

The pick of the week’s Aviva Premiership action sees third entertain first at the Ricoh Arena in a rematch of last season’s final. Wasps come off the back of a resounding 44-22 away win at the Harlequins, this despite Kyle Eastmond’s being shown red inside the  opening 20 minutes, and will be full of enthusiasm heading into Sunday’s clash with Exeter.

London Wasps v Exeter Chiefs
Sunday 18 February
Ricoh Arena
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)

Wasps 9/20
Draw 17/1
Exeter 37/20


Wasps
Wasps were at their scintillating best in their win over the 'Quins. Some of their support play and running lines would have been enough to make Steve Hansen jealous, while the way in which they managed the tough conditions in the second half – particularly when down to 14 men – deserves a tip of the hat.

Coming up against Exeter will be a very tough proposition indeed. The men from Devon have led the way for the majority of the campaign and really do look set to host come the playoffs. Wasps will need their offensive maestros Willie le Roux, Danny Cipriani and Juan de Jongh at their very best – as they were last week – if they are to unlock one of the toughest defences in the competition. Indeed, their outing at the Stoop may have come at just the right time with confidence in the camp at an all-time high.

The club’s announcement this week that Cipriani would be leaving come the season’s end wasn’t met with huge starts of surprise, but the talented 30-year-old will nonetheless be missed in 2018/19 season. Cipriani has sworn to give his all for the club in the weeks leading up to the playoffs and I’m expecting him to have a big say as to who comes out trumps this Sunday afternoon.

Exeter
At one stage this season it seemed as though Rob Baxter’s side would end the round robin at least 10 points ahead of their nearest competitors. Alas, a run of poor results (including last week’s shock 5-6 loss to Worcester; the Warriors’ first-ever win at Sandy Park) now sees the defending champions sitting just two points clear of the next-placed Saracens with a tricky immediate schedule up ahead.

The Chiefs’ 31-17 September win over the Wasps seems ages ago and they dare not rest on their laurels this week. Another loss could see 'Sarries claim top spot at the conclusion of the weekend, and Exeter cannot afford to take another backward step. That said, this is a championship-winning team and, despite being without their internationals, will come out with the bit between their teeth.

Verdict: Exeter 37/20
It’s a huge call, but I feel as though Exeter may have a point to prove this weekend. A string of poor results may just bring out the best in the defending champions, and I’m backing them to claim a narrow away win at the Ricoh this Sunday.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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