Harlequins invite Joe Marler back to their side as they face Exeter Chiefs in a rehash of last season’s amazingly exhilarating Premiership last. Britain prop Marler bombed a late wellness test and had to miss the success at Gloucester on Sunday.
Exeter acquire club skipper Jack Yeandle and Josh Iosefa-Scott to their first column with Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Nixon inaccessible through injury.
|Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Date: Saturday, 8 January
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Updates on the BBC Sport website
Facundo Cordero and Ian Whitten additionally come into their backline. Jonny Gray likewise returns for Chiefs in their second line as individual Scotland worldwide Sam Skinner drops to the seat.
This will be the primary gathering between the sides since Quins’ emotional Premiership last win over Exeter at Twickenham in June.
A Marcus Smith-propelled Harlequins side beat the Chiefs 40-38 because of Louis Lynagh’s two late attempts in a game that saw the lead change hands on five events.
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Sport:
“Harlequins deserved it when they won the final last year, it certainly wasn’t something that came out of the blue with the performances they were putting together at the end of last season and it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve carried on on a very good vein of form this year.
“They look very settled, very comfortable with what they’re doing, they’ve got great energy about the team, a great emotional bind to what they’re doing.
🙏 Hoping for some more of this from @MarcuSmith10 tomorrow. #COYQ pic.twitter.com/LaVw8g3n8j
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) January 7, 2022
“They’re one of the teams that’s going to be a real, real challenge for any team this year, not just us.
“I’m quite looking forward to it, I think it’ll be a good measure of where we are at the moment and it’ll give us a good indication of the things we need to achieve to drive for top four and hopefully get into those end of season games we’re after.”
Harlequins: Green; Marchant, Northmore, Esterhuizen, Murley; Smith, Care; Marler, Walker, Collier, Symons, Tizard, Lawday, Kenningham, Dombrandt (capt).
Replacements: Musk, Garcia Botta, Kerrod, Lamb, J Chisholm, Steele, Jones, Lynagh.
Exeter: Hogg; Nowell, Slade, Whitten, Cordero; J Simmonds, Maunder; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Iosefa-Scott, Gray, Hill, Ewers, Kirsten, S Simmonds.
Replacements: Innard, Moon, Schickerling, S Skinner, Armand, Maunder, H Skinner, Hendrickson.
Referee: Ian Tempest (RFU).