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'I don't feel like we're in a crisis' - Chiefs name team for bounce back mission

By Kim Ekin
Ollie Devoto /PA

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Director of Rugby Rob Baxter has named his Exeter Chiefs side for a Gallagher Premiership bounce-back mission when they take on Gloucester this weekend.

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Exeter fell to a surprise 21 – 33 loss to London Irish last weekend at Sandy Park, the Chiefs’ second in a row in front of their home fans.

“I don’t feel like we’re in a crisis because we’ve lost one game after winning three,” said Baxter, who has named a strong side to take on Gloucester. “The drama for me a little bit is the performance, but we’ve got a few days to put that right and that’s what’s great about sport.”

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“London Irish found momentum very easily, we didn’t find that kind of momentum and giving up momentum makes you liable to conceding penalties. A lack of accuracy on the floor when we carried meant that we were open to the odd turnover on the floor, compounded by a lack accuracy when we were clearing out. Whatever your level of performance is, it needs to be focussed on some foundational elements around how you keep the ball and how you defend, and I think that’s where I would say our core fundamental qualities weren’t there.”

This Friday, the men from Devon take a journey up the M5 to face a Gloucester side who are undefeated in their past four outings and seem to have found a winning formula, combining a physical pack with some sparkling backs, that will be pleasing to the ‘shed’ faithful.

“In some ways they look like they’ve gone a little bit back to Gloucester DNA, scrummaging, mauling, being solid in defence and making you pay from five metres.

“If we don’t want to Maul, if we don’t want to be tough up front then it’s going to be a long day, because they’re getting some momentum from their pack, and they are finishing off that momentum with scores.

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“Alongside that, they have got a couple of backs in that back division who can hurt you from anywhere, they’ve got plenty to play for, and it makes it even more of a challenge for us, but at the end of the day every game in the Premiership should be a challenge and you’ve got to enjoy that challenge.”

“I don’t think this weekend is about experience, I think it’s about guys getting out there, running around and performing like an Exeter Chiefs team, that’s the messages they’re getting this week. I don’t really care who’s on the field, they are an Exeter Chiefs player they know how to play, and they’ve just got to go out there and show that it means a lot to them. If we do that, we’ll have taken a step forward and that’s all you can do.”

“We’re going there with every intention to win the game, to do what we think we need to do to challenge Gloucester, the key for us to focus on is the foundational elements in our own game.”

EXETER CHIEFS:
15. S Hogg
14. J Nowell
13. T Hendrickson
12. O Devoto
11. F Cordero
10. H Skinner
9. J Maunder
1. A Hepburn
2. J Yeandle (C)
3. H Williams
4. W Witty
5. S Lonsdale
6. S Skinner
7. D Armand
8. R Capstick

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REPLACEMENTS:
16. O Burrows
17. B Moon
18. J Isofa-Scott
19. C Tshiunza
20. R Tuima
21. S Hidaglo-Clyne
22. J Simmonds
23. I Whitten

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