Premiership: Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs


Exeter Chiefs won their first ever Premiership title at Twickenham in May
Aviva Premiership
Venue: Kingsholm Date: Friday, 1 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC local radio and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Australia scrum-half Nic White will make his debut for champions Exeter Chiefs when their Premiership title defence begins at Gloucester on Friday.

Another summer arrival, flanker Matt Kvesic, is named among the replacements against his former side.

The hosts give debuts in their starting XV to full-back Jason Woodward and prop Fraser Balmain.

Flanker Ruan Ackermann – son of new Cherry and Whites head coach Johan Ackermann – is on the bench.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Spotlight:

“What we can’t do when we go to Gloucester is sit and look at them.

“They’re a good side, they’re at home, bags of energy, first game of the Premiership season against us – the current champions.

“There are so many reasons why it can be really emotionally charged for them – we’re just going to have to deal with it.”

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

“It’s a great start, to play against the defending champions. It’s a benchmark game.

“We have the utmost respect for what [Exeter] have achieved. They are a quality side.

“It’s a great challenge. This is why you play the game, to test yourself constantly at the the highest level.”

Gloucester: Woodward; Thorley, Symons, Atkinson, Purdy; Burns, Heinz (capt); Afoa, Hibbard, Balmain; Savage, Thrush; Ludlow, Rowan, Morgan.

Replacements: Matu’u, Hohneck, Denman, Slater, Ackermann, Vellacott, Twelvetrees, Scott.

Exeter: Dollman; Woodburn, Slade, Whitten, Bodilly; Steenson, White; Moon, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Atkins, Hill, Dennis, Armand, Simmonds.

Replacements: Taione, Rimmer, Francis, Skinner, Kvesic, Maunder, Nowell, Turner

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