Chiefs coach Hunter "Premiership tightest I've known it"

Gallagher Premiership Rugby logo Rob Hunter says Exeter Chiefs will need to be at their best as they look to preserve their lead at the top of the Premiership.

The Devonians tackle Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium today in a fixture forwards coach Hunter insists is ‘one of the hardest’ in the division.

With just eight rounds of the regular season remaining, jostling for positions at either end of the Premiership table is intensifying by the week.

Hunter acknowledges this season’s Premiership is the tightest it has been in years – and says teams are acutely aware that ‘every point counts’ in their respective battles at either end of the table.

“One of the great things about the league is that there are not too many games that don’t have anything riding on them,” continued Hunter.

“This league is tough, it always has been, but this is certainly the tightest I’ve known it. The middle is pretty choked up at the moment with sides moving up and down each’s a battle every week and you have to be ready for that.”

Chiefs will again be shy of their five-strong England contingent, who have been kept in training by Eddie Jones this week, it is still a powerful line-up that the visitors will take to the field tomorrow.

After last week's home victory over Newcastle, Baxter has resisted tinkering with his winning starting line-up. The sole change in the match-day personnel comes on the bench where Tongan international hooker Elvis Taione gets the nod over Jack Innard.

Starting 15 Santiago Cordero
14 Alex Cuthbert
13 Ian Whitten
12 Ollie Devoto
11 Olly Woodburn
10 Gareth Steenson
9 Nic White

1 Alec Hepburn
2 Jack Yeandle (capt)
3 Greg Holmes
4 Dave Dennis
5 Jonny Hill
6 Dave Ewers
7 Don Armand
8 Matt Kvesic

16 Elvis Taione
17 Billy Keast
18 Marcus Street
19 Mitch Lees
20 Sean Lonsdale
21 Jack Maunder
22 Joe Simmonds
23 Sam Hill

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