Worcester will aim to continue their quest for Aviva Premiership survival on Saturday by adding Exeter’s scalp to that of league champions Saracens.
The Warriors’ 24-18 victory over Saracens last weekend, which followed Bristol’s thumping at home by Harlequins, took Worcester five points clear of the west country club.
Any points collected against Sixways visitors Exeter would prove priceless in terms of Worcester potentially climbing further away from trouble, especially as bottom club Bristol visit Leicester on Saturday.
Reflecting on Worcester’s win against Saracens, Exeter head coach Rob Baxter said: “They looked well organised and very comfortable with what they are doing.
“They had good energy and worked hard for one another, so it should be a fantastic challenge for us.
“What I like about the weekend is that both sides are fighting for something.
“Worcester are fighting to prove they can climb clear of the relegation zone and push forward as a club, while we are fighting to consolidate a place in the top four and be on course to be part of those big games at the end of the season.
“For me, that makes for a really good fixture, so it’s important that we prepare well and we show them respect.
“The only way you can do that, however, is by preparing well – which we’ve done this week – and then going out and playing well.”
A bonus point win for Exeter would guarantee they hold third place above Bath, while also giving them a 10th successive Premiership win against Worcester.
Baxter added: “It’s a big game for us, and if we want to achieve anything at the end of the season, it’s what we do now that ultimately matters.
“What we’ve talked about this week is the importance of everyone being sharp and fully focused, and that when we hit the pitch we do everything flat out.
“That is what we are good at, and it’s what tends to suit us. We have to make the game very attritional over the 80 minutes for every opposition that we play.”
Bristol, having been destroyed by Quins, must now pick themselves to face Leicester, with the Tigers buoyant after claiming a bonus point success at Gloucester’s expense last Saturday.
“We have drawn a line under last weekend and go into Saturday’s clash full of confidence and raring to go,” Bristol head coach Mark Tainton said.
“We are under no illusions about the challenge that awaits us at Welford Road, but we are looking forward to what is to come and have prepared well with intensity on the training field.”
Bath have Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau back in the ranks for their Recreation Ground appointment with Quins on Saturday, but the visitors are without Australia international lock James Horwill due to injury.
“Last week’s bonus point away win cemented our excellent recent form in the Premiership, where we have collected 14 points from our last four matches,” Quins rugby director John Kingston said.
“The visit to Bath will undoubtedly be tough, especially set against our well-documented list of unavailable and injured players. The squad are in terrific heart, however, and are very much looking forward to the challenge.”
Sunday’s Premiership action, meanwhile, sees Wasps chasing a 12th league win of the season when they visit Sale Sharks, with Newcastle – three points behind Northampton – tackling the Saints at Kingston Park.