Ewers and Skinner banned ahead of Saturday's semi-final against Sale Sharks

  Posted: 17.06.21 at 10:28 by Will Goddard

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Chiefs forwards Dave Ewers and Sam Skinner will not feature in Saturday's (19 June) premiership semi-final against Sale Sharks after they were each handed a four-week ban earlier this week.

In last Saturday's (12 June) match, also against Sale Sharks, Ewers was given a yellow card for a high tackle, and Skinner was sent off for the same.

They were both charged by an independent disciplinary panel with breaking World Rugby Law 9.13, and the reason the panel gave for banning them was that both incidents involved the players making contact with their opponent's head.

Exeter's Director of Rugby Rob Baxter told Chiefs media: "I am very disappointed.

"There is a huge amount of inconsistency, a lack of empathy for the players involved in the incidents.

"I am not saying there isn’t a need to look at head contact, of course there is. But there are two sides to every process, and it isn’t feeling like that at the moment.

"The actual ruling is not a problem. I am not complaining that the four-week ban should be a different ban, I am talking about how they are found to be guilty in the first place.

"The whole scenario is not player-based, and there is no empathy for the player who is there.

"Dave Ewers, who is 30, has played international rugby and has played numerous Heineken Cup games and Premiership games. In all that time, he has never had one card for foul play.

"So surely, you go into the proceedings and think ‘this guy is clearly not a guy who has been running round committing foul play’."

The loss of two key forwards will likely be a huge blow for the Chiefs ahead of Saturday's match.

Last week, Exeter only just managed to claw back a 20-19 win against Sale with a second-half comeback and three-point penalty kick.

Saturday's match will be hard-fought, and Baxter wants the Chiefs to play as they did in the comebacks of both of its previous matches - but also gave a warning.

He said: "If we don't want to turn up from minute one next week, the season is gone - and I genuinely do think that will change us and give us a real direction and purpose.

"Once we've got a real direction and purpose, we look a very, very good team.

"It is a semi-final now - an all-or-nothing game."

Given that Sam Skinner's red card galvanised the team into a comeback last week, fans could expect the team to rally after losing two key forwards and provide a solid, consistent performance against Sale in the semi-final.

In the other semi-final taking place at 1.30pm on Saturday, Bristol Bears will play Harlequins at Ashton Gate in Bristol. Harlequins are the underdogs in this match, having won just 13 games this season compared with Bristol's 17.

Kickoff for Chiefs vs. Sale will be at 4.30pm. Exmouth Nub News will be reporting live from the match, so make sure to follow our Facebook page for updates.

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