Exeter Chiefs are set to be bolstered by the return of Scottish internationals Sam Skinner and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne for this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership clash with Bath Rugby.

Last weekend Chiefs were without all four Scottish internationals, with Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray starting for their country in the 28-17 defeat to France in the Autumn Nations Cup.

It mattered little, with Exeter rolling over Harlequins 3-33 at The Twickenham Stoop, however with Scotland’s scheduled international with Fiji cancelled due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Pacific Islander’s camp, scrum half Hidalgo-Clyne and versatile forward Skinner will be back for club duty, with the latter a particularly useful addition to the Exeter squad with Jonny Hill also away with England this weekend along with hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and centre Henry Slade, and South African Jacques Vermeulen sidelined with a shoulder injury.

England prop Harry Williams was released back to the Devon-side on Tuesday.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter sad explained: “Before the internationals started Premiership clubs expected any player not in the 25 preparing for a test would be released on the Tuesday but that seems to have changed due to some World Rugby guidance with some documentation sent out saying those international teams could behave as if they were on tour, which means within your squad there is no need to release players.

“There has been a bit of back and forward over it. What is going to happen in this circumstance is Scotland have very kindly released Sam Skinner and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne back to us, because they have been less involved [used as replacements] than Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg.

“Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray will stay with Scotland to prepare for next week and I have no major issues with that based on the fact they are the guys who have put the minutes in recently.

“It does allow Sam Skinner and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne to play for us and that is great credit to Scotland they are prepared to be that flexible and help us out this weekend.”

In another boost Baxter confirmed his squad had suffered no significant injuries in their opening game of the new season.

Meanwhile Bath come to Sandy Park with a big pack and injured pride having suffered a shock 12-19 defeat to newly promoted Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.

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Baxter said: It will certainly have given Bath a slap in the face, whether they needed that or not.

“We are certainly expecting because of that result an even tougher fixture without a doubt.”

Bath will have prop Beno Obano, hooker Tom Dunn, lock Charlie Ewels and winger Joe Cokanasiga to select from at the weekend with the quartet released from the England squad by head coach Eddie Jones ahead of Wales this weekend.

Centre Jonathan Joseph, full-back Anthony Watson, flanker Sam Underhill and prop Will Stuart look set to face the Welsh at the Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.





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