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Armand hails all-round effort at Chiefs

Don Armand believes Exeter Chiefs underlined what they are capable of this season with Sunday’s impressive victory over Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership.

Rob Baxter's side followed up their impressive home win over London Irish with an equally destructive display in the North East, sinking the Falcons with a six-try blast in their 41-3 success.

Back-row forward Armand helped lead the way for the Westcountry outfit as he scored two tries on the day in a man-of-the-match performance, which also yielded tries for Will Chudley, Julian Salvi, Matt Jess and Moray Low.

With the exception of Low's score that arrived 12 minutes from time, the remainder of Exeter's tries came during a ruthless first half showing in which their hosts simply had no answers.

Armand, now into his third season with the club, was at the heart of the visiting attack and he believes this latest showing, hot on the heels of their home win over Irish, shows the Chiefs are beginning to show some real form on the field.

"I think this was an indication of what we are capable of," said the 27-year-old forward. "If you saw us against London Irish, the forwards were giving the backs good ball and against Newcastle we managed to do the same.

"I'd like to think the performance was one of those things which we strive to do every week. I think things went according to plan when maybe in that first week (in a 19-17 defeat to Bath) they didn't.

"As long as we keep our forwards game working well then the backs can continue to do what they do as well. It was pleasing to see it all come together and hopefully they will continue to do so week in, week out."

Described post-match by head coach Baxter as a 'hidden gem' – Armand again showed his versatility at the weekend, slotting into the No.8 role with aplomb and providing a powerful back-row triumvirate alongside Dave Ewers and Salvi.

The trio were part of an Exeter pack that laid the perfect platform from which the Chiefs could again exploit their deadly back division, spearheaded by captain Gareth Steenson.

Post-match, Harare-born Armand admitted the mix between Exeter's backs and forwards was an ever-improving blend and that he's hopeful it will continue to bear fruits when Leicester Tigers arrive at Sandy Park this Saturday (5:30pm).

"When the whole team is playing well it is much easier to be on top of your game," said Armand. "My first try was an easier one – they don't get any easier than that – but the other one was down to the backs getting good ball from the forwards and I made sure I was in the right place at the right time.

"We did well. We knew we would have to come up here and perform and stick to our plan and we managed to do that."

However, the former Stormers star knows the Tigers – who currently lie second after an unbeaten start to the new season – will pose a much tougher proposition next up.

He added: "Leicester will be a big game. I think if last year is anything to go by then we tend to step up to big games. I think everyone is looking forward to it and it will be one hell of a game.

"We want to make sure we are one of the top sides that everyone respects, so if we can take on Leicester and put a marker down then I think people will respect that. I don't think the Tigers will be taking us lightly, just as we won't take them lightly."

Tickets for Saturday's game are still available online or through the Trading Post, which is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.
 

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