Exeter Chiefs vs Sale Sharks
Last week we had a dress rehearsal of the semifinal and what a cracker of a match it was. The Chiefs came back from the brink of defeat to stage a remarkable comeback after going down to 14 men. Sale was dominant up to that point and not many teams out muscle the Chiefs. The big concern for both teams coming into this match is the loss of key players. Exeter has their two first choice locks suspended but probably more severe is Sale losing their talisman AJ MacGinty. He has been the general of this Sale team and his replacement Rob Du Preez goes missing in these big games. Coach Rob Baxter was furious with his team in both their previous matches and will want an 80 minute performance from his team. Exeter has been slow out the blocks in these matches but I feel they will lift their intensity from the first whistle. Sale on the other hand were quite brilliant until the last 20 minutes and I think some blame needs to be put on the coaching team as they made wholesome changes thinking the match was won. The player that looked most disappointing for the Chiefs is Stuart Hogg. We all know that he is a world class operator but has been well below his best. He needs to regain his form fast especially with the British and Irish Lions tour just around the corner. The Chiefs pride themselves on having the best forward pack and will be smarting after being bullied by the Du Preez and Curry brothers. Chiefs will be hoping that their hard man Jacques Vermeulen is fit as his battle with the Sale loose forwards will be bone crunching. The Sale scrum was also dominant and this was unexpected as the Chiefs boast an all international front row.
TIP: I am expecting the Chiefs to continue from where they left off in the last 20 minutes of the previous match. Sale must brace themselves for an onslaught as the defending champions will want to make a statement. The player that ignited the Chiefs in the last match was replacement number 9 Stu Townsend and he was everything good about the comeback. His duel with Faf De Klerk will go a long way to deciding the outcome in this match. Both scrum halves are excellent at running and finding the gaps for their backline runners. However all their work is determined by the forwards and the team that gains an ascendency in the pack will ensure their number directs the game. The bookies have Exeter as favourites and I agree with this call. The best odds on the Exeter win are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.33, Playabets 1.34 and Sunbet 1.32
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Exeter vs Sale Sharks
- In the last five encounters between these sides there have been three wins for the Chiefs and two for Sale.
- The home team has won the last two matches between the sides.
- In eight home matches against Sale, the Chiefs have only lost once.
Latest results for both teams
These teams played each other in their last match which Exeter winning 20-19.
This match has incredible match ups throughout the lineup but the centre battle between Colin Slade and Manu Tuilagi looks particularly appetizing. Slade will need to be at his defensive best to keep the powerhouse Tuilagi at bay. The adage of attack being the best form of defence rings very loud here as Slade is also an excellent attacker in his own right. The man that Sale will need to watch most closely is Sam Simmonds. The record breaker has been the player of the season and will be keen to add to his try count. He is deadly anywhere near the try line and is virtually unstoppable close the line. They did a good job of keeping him quiet last week and will be hoping for more of the same this week. The Chiefs will come out firing in this match and I am predicting them to comfortably win this match by more than 10 points
- Probable Starting XVs
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Richard Capstick, 5 Sean Lonsdale, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn
15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Arron Reed, 10 Rob Du Preez, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tom Curry (captain), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jean-Luc du Preez, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Ross Harrison
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Exeter victory are as follows:
Odds comparison on the Exeter handicap:
The complete odds on the Exeter handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (-7.5) 1.90
Sunbet (-7.5) 1.82
Playabets (-7.5) 1.86
Predictions and Odds in details
This match will be a cagey affair with the team that controls the match better coming out on top. The Chiefs have the experience of knock out rugby as this is their sixth successive semi-final. Sale doesn’t have the same experience but have De Klerk and Curry who featured in the WC Final. The depth that Exeter have on the bench was evident in the last match and I expect that to come to the fore once again. The Chiefs are a proud team and their forwards will want to payback the Sale pack with a demolition job of their own. Joe Simmonds needs to get his backline more involved and the likes of Stuart Hogg and Tom O’Flaherty can be match winners when given the ball in space. Punters can get a decent return on the Exeter outright win but the value bet for me is Exeter on the handicap. The best odds on the Exeter handicap victory is at: Worldsportsbetting (-7.5) 1.90, Sunbet (-7.5) 1.82 and Playabets (-7.5) 1.86
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.