Exeter are ready to reignite their season when they face Worcester in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday after using the two-week break from European action to take stock of recent setbacks.
The Chiefs stumbled for the first time since winning last season’s double when they lost to title rivals Wasps and Bristol on successive weekends, the Bears defeat coming at Sandy Park.
Following the cancellation of the final two rounds of the Champions Cup group stage because of the French government’s coronavirus fears, director of rugby Rob Baxter has used the time to reset.
“We’ve had some good conversations as a group about where we were, what we’re about, what we want to be seen like and what we want the future to look like,” Baxter said.
“I guess my biggest mistake has not been resetting from last season because in reality we went from winning two finals in a space of a week, the players then had two and a half weeks off, before they were back in training getting ready for that first game up at Harlequins.
“Generally, during the off-season people get the previous campaign out of their system and when you meet up everyone is fresh again, but with the Covid scenarios, the first time the players met up this season was for their first day of training.
“I was waiting for something to feel different, but we won the games and we flew into the Glasgow game and won that with maximum points.
“After that, we had our Covid situation, the game against Toulouse got cancelled, and looking at it now, it probably dented us a bit more than I appreciated at the time.
“We just needed to stop, reset and talk about things. This past fortnight has allowed us to do that and I think we have addressed a lot of it.
“I’ve watched us train this week and it feels a bit like the latter weeks of last season when we got back and finished off really well. That is what I wanted to see.”
Exeter captain Joe Simmonds has recovered from an ankle injury to continue at fly-half, while Worcester lock Graham Kitchener has overcome a fractured foot to make his first appearance for the season.
Gloucester are looking to climb off the foot of the table when they host Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.
“Every game in the Premiership is a hard game so it doesn’t really matter where someone’s sitting in the table, it’s a tough game no matter what,” head coach George Skivington said.
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