Exeter could welcome back key men for Saints clash

Exeter Chiefs could welcome back some key men for Saturday's Gallagher Premiership game against Saints.
Jack NowellJack Nowell
Jack Nowell

England wing Jack Nowell and influential flanker Jacques Vermeulen are closing in on a return to action.

And there is also the possiblity that Exeter could call on a few of their Six Nations stars for the Sandy Park fixture.

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With no international matches this weekend, the Chiefs have a decision to make on whether to bring Scotland duo Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray and Wales prop Tomas Francis back into their team.

"We're dealing with them all individually," said Exeter boss Rob Baxter when asked about his Six Nations stars.

"Some we have given some time off. Some have been back training and having a bit of physio and some will be involved this weekend potentially.

"It's great that they are about and they are available, but that doesn't mean you lump them straight back into the team.

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"We are assessing it kind of based on where they are and people need to remember that even with your non-England players, we have made an agreement that they get a certain amount of time off over the course of the season.

"Actually for some of them the time off will suit us and them more now then it will when they get back from the Six Nations.

"We're looking at them all separately and also what we require on the field as well, how our injury situation is.

"I can't tell you how we are dealing with every single one but they are being dealt with individually."

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On Nowell, who has not yet featured this season having undergone surgery on his toe ligament back in October, Baxter said: “This week we have had Jack Nowell back in full training and we are hoping that if his loading goes well he can be declared fit to play by the end of this week, because he is virtually in full training now.

“If he has no repercussions this week he could be cleared and available to be named in the squad on Friday.”

And on Vermeulen, who had a shoulder operation during the close-season, Baxter added: “Jacques Vermeulen has had a full week of training this week.

"If his loading is all okay this week he could well be cleared by Friday so it is obviously great to have those two guys back."

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