Prop Greg Holmes admits his Exeter Chiefs side must keep their concentration levels high for the full 80 minutes as they prepare for Aviva Premiership Rugby’s Friday night lights with a trip to Sale Sharks.
The Chiefs became a rampant force in last Saturday’s 57-22 victory over Worcester Warriors, though a trip to the North West is set to provide its own, unique tests.
It’s that Sandy Park success which Holmes his hoping can carry his side forward, winning their last three matches in all competitions after a difficult Aviva Premiership Rugby opening.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) November 28, 2016
But the 29-year-old knows it’s going to be far from straightforward against the Sharks, calling on his side to keep the focus up for the duration at a ground they lost at last term.
“These results have been an accumulation of all the hard work that’s been going in,” he said. “Things didn’t exactly go completely our way earlier in the season but we’re now starting to hit that form.
“From talking to the boys, I’ve got an idea of what it’s going to be like, Sale are a very confrontational team and you have to toil away.
“It’s not going to be a 20-30 minute win; we’ll have to play well for 70 if not 80 minutes.
“They have a very good pack, they’re a big, physical side and to play them away from home we know we’ll have to perform well in the scrum and maul and do that job. If we do that then I’m confident the backs can do what they need for us.”
This season has coincided with the Australian’s first year in Aviva Premiership Rugby, taking his new competition in his stride after 11 years of Super Rugby.
It’s an unfamiliarity which has so far come as a positive for the forward, also getting his first taste of the European Champions Cup with the Chiefs.
And Holmes is hoping the good memories can continue to fall at his feet, with a long trip to the AJ Bell Stadium on the cards as his side look to replicate last season’s runner-up finish in the competition.
He added: “I’m enjoying Exeter, it’s a great bunch of guys and it’s a great club to be a part of.
“Aviva Premiership Rugby is completely different in a lot of ways, the scrimmaging is different but it’s hard to put your finger on what it is that makes it all unique.
“It’s a great challenge, week in, week out, but I’m loving every bit of it so far.
“I’d never had a bus trip back from a game before, but the feeling is very enjoyable especially after a win like we did after the Newcastle Falcons. It’s part of the culture that you buy into and something I’ve really enjoyed.”