Ollie Devoto is banking on home comforts to help reignite the Exeter Chiefs ahead of Sunday’s crunch Aviva Premiership encounter with former club Bath at Sandy Park (3pm).
After back-to-back losses in the European Champions Cup against ASM Clermont Auvergne and Ulster, the Devon outfit resume domestic matters this weekend with a mouth-watering local derby encounter.
With a sell-out crowd already assured and both clubs desperate to claim vital league points, the 23-year-old – who swapped playing life in the Roman City for that of Exeter this summer – believes this latest match-up has all the makings of a classic encounter.
“Having played in these local derbies before they are the games you look forward to the most. We are really excited for it,” said Devoto. “The derby games against the Chiefs are some of the ones I remember the most because I remember the atmosphere at Sandy Park and they were some of the best games to be involved in.”
Although defeated right at the death in Ulster last time out, the England international felt the display in Belfast provided plenty of positives from which to build this week.
“It is important for us to get results now. We always back ourselves at home and this weekend is going to be a huge game for us,” he continued. “I think it is important we now start turning performances like Saturday into actual results. We have caught little glimpses of what we can do, but it is about riding the pressure.
“Sometimes in games, the opposition are going to get the upper hand, but it is about coming through those difficult patches intact.
“There were a lot of positives to take from the Ulster game. We put ourselves in a position to win it which not many teams can do over there in European competition because it is so tough.”
With just two wins this term, it’s been a spluttering start to the campaign for last season’s beaten Premiership finalists, but a victory this weekend against a Bath outfit that have lost only once under new coach Todd Blackadder would certainly help lift spirits.
“I would say there has been a little bit of a ramp-up in training this week. I think you need to get into just the right mindset and we have had a good few days’ training,” added Devoto.
“There is no need to panic but the senior boys are really driving standards and we are looking to get some really good performances in, particularly before the Anglo-Welsh Cup the following week.”
Sunday’s fixture will be the first meeting of the two Westcountry rivals since last term, when honours were shared in the respective fixtures. Bath won on the opening day at the Rec 19-17 before the Chiefs gained revenge back in February, winning the return leg 26-17.