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Chiefs bolstered by return of England and Lions back for visit of Leinster

Jack Nowell is back fit and raring to go this weekend.

Nowell is relishing the prospect of facing Leinster this weekend.
Nowell is relishing the prospect of facing Leinster this weekend.
Image: Julian Herbert

JACK NOWELL’S RETURN to fitness has provided Exeter Chiefs with a significant boost ahead of Sunday’s Champions Cup clash with Leinster at Sandy Park.

The England international had been out for eight weeks after fracturing his cheekbone and eye socket against Newcastle in early October, and was given 25 minutes last weekend in anticipation of the European double-header.

Nowell, who toured with the Lions during the summer, missed Exeter’s first two Pool 3 games, as well as England’s November internationals, but his return bolsters the Premiership champions for the visit of Leinster.

“I’ve never been a good watcher, so it’s good to be back out there again,” he said.

“I won’t lie, it’s been tough these last few months, but it’s good when you do finally get back out there with the boys again.”

Nowell came off the bench as a second-half replacement over the weekend as the Chiefs made it three straight wins with a thumping 42-29 defeat of Bath, a result which extends their lead at the top of the Premiership to eight points.

And the 24-year-old’s return adds another dimension to their expansive and dangerous attacking game, with Nowell carrying a particular threat as a potent finisher.

“These back-to-back games are important,” he continued. “You don’t tend to play teams back-to-back, especially Leinster, so it should be a good couple of tests for us.”

“We know the threat Leinster pose. They are a great side and they always seem to turn up for the big games. For us, though, it’s just as important that we turn up at the weekend. The boys have set us nicely for these games.

“We’ve had two great wins, especially the one over in Montpellier,and that has put us in an awesome position. Now it’s up to us to build on that as the opportunity is there for us.”

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