Gloucester vs Exeter Chiefs Prediction: Exeter young guns to let loose

 | February 17 | 

3 mins read

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Today’s clash at Kingsholm between Gloucester and Exeter Chiefs is the first of two semi-finals this weekend. The Premiership Rugby Cup was created for clubs to provide opportunities for younger players to get valuable game-time, however with silverware on the line, both teams have still named strong sides.

Gloucester will be disappointed with their season so far, sitting 9th out of 10 on the Premiership table with only 3 wins from 12 games. They went on a run of nine consecutive Premiership defeats, which finally ended against Sale three weeks ago. George Skivington will certainly be wanting to maintain some momentum after some more promising performances in January.

Exeter Chiefs are the reigning champions of this competition and a win in front of the Shed stand today will mean a fifth final in this competition since 2009. Rob Baxter has never been afraid to give youngsters opportunities and his strategy has developed title-winning teams and produced numerous internationals. With so many key players leaving last summer, Baxter had no option but to bring more youngsters through but it’s not changed their results one bit. They are one point outside the playoffs spot in the Premiership, they’ve locked in a Champions Cup home quarter-final and now sit on the brink of reaching a final in this competition.

Gloucester vs Exeter Tips

Team News: 

Gloucester

Skivington has named a fairly strong side for this contest but there are still a number of key players not included – Alemanno, Tuisue, Carreras, Harris and May to name a few. They’ve also agreed to let their starting fly-half Hastings leave to Glasgow this week, and don’t have their newest recruit available in Charlie Atkinson for selection as he is cup-tied after playing for Leicester in the early rounds.

Their pack is strong and they will certainly be looking to get the edge at set-piece. Ford-Robinson, McGuigan and Gotovtsev make up the front-row, with Clarke and Jordan behind them as Locks. Ackermann, Ludlow and Mercer is Gloucester’s first choice back-row and you can expect to see some angry ball carrying from Mercer after yet another England snub.

Where I have more concern around Gloucester is in the back-line. They have players in crucial positions of 10, 13 and 15 – Barton, Llewellyn and Evans - that have not played since December. Barton is a young fly-half but has struggled to manage games and it eventually led to him losing his starting berth.

Exeter

Exeter also have a few regulars missing – Jenkins, Slade, Roots and Hawkins to name a few – but otherwise have a settled side with plenty of game time together. Sio, Norey and Painter start in the front-row with Pearson and Tuima in the second-row. It’s an industrious back row of Vermeulen, Capstick and Fisilau.

In the backline it will be Cairns and Skinner steering the ship from 9 and 10, with Devoto and youngster Wimbush in the centers. Out wide will be Relton and Hammersley and finally the exciting prospect Hodge will be at full back. Skinner is a key reason I think Exeter will prevail today as he has guided this Chiefs team around with poise and class all season.

Exeter to win @ 13/8

It will be a close contest at Kingsholm today, and although Gloucester have begun turning a corner, I think Exeter will edge this game and book a spot in the final. The 3 week gap between their last game may have stopped some momentum they gained, and I don’t yet have confidence in Barton to manage a knockout game. Exeter have proved time and again that they can produce in big moments – and often as an underdog – so I like them to win today and reach the final.

ExeterToWin

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