- Exeter Chiefs are 3.5-point away favorites to Sale Sharks in the Gallgaher Rugby Premiership match on Sunday, October 3
- Finalists a year ago, the Chiefs are off to an 0-2 start this season
- Sale squandedred a 31-14 lead last week and settle for a 31-31 draw with London Irish
The Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks figure to arrive at the pitch for their Gallagher Rugby Premiership match on Sunday both seeking to get the bitterness out of their systems.
Losing finalists to Harlequins in last year’s championship match, Exeter have come out the gate 0-2 to launch the 2021-22 campaign. Last week, a last-minute penalty saw the Chiefs fall 26-24 at home to the Northampton Saints.
Sale are 1-1 so far. The Sharks scraped past Bath 20-19 at home in their opener. Traveling to face London Irish last week, Sale led 31-14 at the half. The Exiles stormed back to forge a 31-31 draw.
Oddsmakers are still believing in the Chiefs. Exeter is being established as a 3.5-point away favorite in this match.
Exeter Chiefs vs Sale Sharks Odds
|Exeter Chiefs||-170||-3.5 (-105)|
|Sale Sharks||+135||+3.5 (-120)|
Odds as of October 2nd at DraftKings.
Kickoff for Sunday’s match at AJ Bell Stadium is set for 10am ET. The weather forecast is for rain showers, a 14 mph wind and a temperature of 59 degrees.
Scotland Captain Hogg Back For Chiefs
Exeter’s stars are on the path back to action. Scotland captain Stuart Hogg will make his first appearance in the side this season at fullback for Sunday’s match at Sale.
However, the English international trio of Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Jonny Hill are a week away from rejoining Exeter’s lineup. All four of these international stars played in the summer for the British and Irish Lions on tour in South Africa.
On top of those absences, Scotland internationals Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner, South African flanker Jacques Vermeulen and England back Jack Nowell are all unavailable while rehabbing injuries.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) October 1, 2021
Hogg is among six changes to last week’s 15 instituted by Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter. Former England international Ben Moon and New Zealander Josh Iosefa-Scott get their first starts of the season at the props. Harvey Simmons replaces Joe Skinner at fly-half. Flanker Dave Ewers is back from thumb surgery, while Richard Capstick starts at number eight in place of Rus Tuima.
Revamped Sharks To Face Exeter
More than half the starting 15 that let Sale’s sizable advantage slip away at London Irish have been dropped from the side that will be facing the Chiefs on Sunday. The Sharks are making eight changes, including five of their seven backs.
Injuries are playing a role in the roster juggling. Flanker Ben Curry failed a head injury assessment. That’s bringing Cameron Neild in at blind-side. Curtis Langdon is the choice at hooker ahead of Tommy Taylor.
𝙏𝙀𝘼𝙈 𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 | 🦈v🏖️
— Sale Sharks 🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) October 1, 2021
Also out are winger Byron McGuigan and fly-half AJ MacGinty , with Tom Roebuck and Rob du Preez coming in their places. Former Chief Sam Hill, Springbok Rohan Janse van Rensburg and England international Denny Solomona are all in to start for Sale. Ross Harrison starts at loosehead for the first time this season after Bevan Rodd’s inclusion in this week’s England training camp.
Chiefs Chew Up Sharks
Exeter had Sale’s number last season. The two sides met in the playoff semifinal, with the Chiefs taking a 40-30 verdict. During regular-season play, Exeter won 20-19 at home. Sale were 25-20 winners over the Chiefs the last time the club’s met at AJ Bell Stadium.
Exeter should get a crooked number in the win column from this match but giving a home side 3.5 points is risky. Take the Chiefs in the moneyline.
Pick: Exeter (-170).