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Exeter Chiefs

Aviva PremiershipWith the new English domestic season kicking off on Friday, we take a look at the prospects of each of the 12 clubs competing for the Premiership title. Let’s get started.

Saracens:

The pioneers of modern English rugby, Saracens have established themselves as one of Europe’s leading teams over the last few years.

Making three Premiership Finals in the last five years along with contesting Europe’s showpiece last season underlines their rise to the top of the game. Unafraid to experiment off the field, 2013/2014 saw Saracens revolutionise their play on it by throwing off the shackles and producing attacking rugby that was hard to resist. More of the same please.

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Chrysander Botha

English club Exeter Chiefs have signed Lions fullback Chrysander Botha ahead of the new Premiership season.

According to Exeter’s official website, the 26-year-old Namibian international touched down at Sandy Park on Wednesday and will join up with his new team-mates next week.

Botha has been tracked by the Chiefs coaching team for some time and assistant coach Ali Hepher believes his arrival will give the Devon club another attacking weapon in their arsenal.

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LV-Cup-logoExeter welcome new father Ben Moon back to the front row for the LV= Cup final, while Don Armand will be on the bench.  Backs Jason Shoemark and Fetu’u Vainikolo also come into the starting Chiefs side, replacing the injured Ian Whitten (calf) and Tom James (knee).

Northampton, who have used more than 40 different players en route to the final, make eight changes to their XV.  There are starts for James Wilson, Jamie Elliott and Stephen Myler as well as Alex Waller and Salesi Ma’afu.

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Exeter ChiefsDean MummWallabies lock Dean Mumm has admitted it was an “easy decision” to extend his stay with Exeter Chiefs for a further two years.

Signed from the Waratahs ahead of the 2011/12 season, the vastly experienced Australian international has proven an instant hit at Sandy Park, both on and off the field.

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Aviva PremiershipAussie flank Ben White says Exeter Chiefs cannot wait to get stuck into Leicester Tigers in their latest Premiership encounter this Sunday.

Buoyed by back-to-back league wins over London Wasps and London Irish, the Chiefs are now busy preparing themselves for the visit of the defending champions to Sandy Park.

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avivalogo2As pointed out by Scrumdown, one of our knowledgeable contributors,  yesterday Saracens played their first Premiership game at their new home ground, the Allianz Park, in Barnet Copthall.  The match was played on an artificial surface and although it is the second game that has been played there it was the first one that they played in front of ten thousand people which is a capacity crowd for the stadium.

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Champions Harlequins will be out to extend their unbeaten start to the English Premiership when they take on Sale Sharks this weekend. Quins currently head the standings after two rounds, but with five teams still unbeaten there is plenty of pressure to continue their winning ways.

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Various pre-season friendly matches have taken place this weekend, ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect Pro12 competitions. Furthemore, there has been news of player injuries as well as some player transfer news.

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This is the third article in our series looking at players from the northern hemisphere who may be lesser known on the international stage.  Previously we looked at two wingers, Harry Robinson and Tim Visser, who at that time had yet to start an official test for their country. 

We now feature a forward, England flanker Tom Johnson. The other difference is that by now Johnson has actually played two tests for England, against South Africa.

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