Champions Cup final: Exeter v Racing 92 (Sat)


Jack Nowell
Exeter, who made their fifth straight Premiership final last weekend, are in the Champions Cup final for the first time in their history
Date: Saturday 17 October Kick-off: 16:45 BST Venue: Ashton Gate, Bristol
Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds, the BBC Sport app and website.

England wing Jack Nowell has recovered from a foot injury to make Exeter’s starting XV for Saturday’s Champions Cup final against Racing 92.

Nowell missed the Chiefs’ Premiership semi-final win over Bath last weekend.

The only other change to Exeter’s line-up for the match at Bristol’s Ashton Gate sees Ian Whitten preferred in midfield to Ollie Devoto.

Racing have Scotland fly-half Finn Russell at 10, but Teddy Thomas is out with Louis Dupichot on the wing.

The French side make one other change from the line-up that beat Saracens in the semi-final with Henry Chavency coming in for Olivier Klemenczak in the centres.

Australia international Kurtley Beale is on the bench.

Racing 92 moved their training base to Corsica this week to limit the chances of another Covid-19 outbreak among the squad, following nine of their employees returning positive tests a fortnight ago. They, along with Exeter, were given a clean bill of health earlier this week.

Both sides are hunting their first title in Europe’s premier club competition.


Exeter: Hogg; Nowell, Slade, Whitten, O’Flaherty; J Simmonds (capt), Maunder; Hepburn, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Gray, Hill, Ewers, Vermeulen, S Simmonds.

Replacements: Yeandle, Moon, Francis, Skinner, Kirsten, Hidalgo-Clyne, Steenson, Devoto.

Racing 92: Zebo; Dupichot, Vakatawa, Chavancy (capt), Imhoff; Russell, Iribaren; Ben Arous, Chat, Colombe, Le Roux, Bird, Lauret, Sanconnie, Claassen

Replacements: Baubigny, Kolingar, Oz, Ryan, Palu, Machenaud, Klemenczak, Beale.

What they say

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter: “If it looks like the guys are cool, calm and collected, it’s because we feel we are getting our preparation right. We are not running around with big smiles on our faces being silly because we have got to the European Cup final for the first time, we are locking down into what it will take to win it and I think that is where we are.”

Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell: “Exeter are a world-class team obviously and for me they’re the best in the Premiership, the best in England just now.

“It’s not going to be an easy challenge to try and break them down. It’s the simple things – if we stick to our structure and our game plan, then we’ve got great attacking threats.

“They’ve got a great defence and there’ll be a few things there I’ll be looking to pick out maybe, with that analysis you do in the week building up.”

The stats

  • The 25th anniversary final will be the eighth Anglo-French decider with Premiership clubs currently leading the Top 14 by five wins to two.
  • Exeter are appearing in their first final and Racing their third in the space of five seasons. The victor will become the 12th club to win the tournament.
  • Racing’s Virimi Vakatawa leads the tournament statistics categories in clean breaks (16) and defenders beaten (48).
  • Exeter’s Dave Ewers has made the most tackles in the tournament this season with 118.

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