TOP BAR - Fixtures

Exeter Chiefs will get stronger, insists Olly Woodburn

Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks

It’s perhaps a sign of expectation levels at Sandy Park that even five-point victories are now being heavily scrutinised by Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter and his players.

Baxter admitted post-match following his side’s 30-25 Aviva Premiership win over Sale Sharks that there were elements of Exeter’s game that needed to be addressed – and that a repeat performance would not be looked upon favourably moving forward.

“I can’t be happy at us playing at that level and we need to shake ourselves up for the remainder the season,” said Baxter post-match at Sandy Park. “We were disrupted in the first half and threw careless passes, which made it difficult for ourselves – and had we not scored just before interval the mountain may have been too high to climb.

“Perhaps after winning at Leicester we were riding on the crest of the wave, but this was a real wake-up call for us as Sale have worried us down there in the past and we weren’t ready for them.”

Although conditions hampered the Chiefs heavily during the first half, they still allowed the Sharks to dictate for long periods and were forced to claw back a 14-point deficit entering into the second period.

Kai Horstmann and Luke Cowan-Dickie’s first half scores helped the home fightback before Olly Woodburn and skipper Don Armand both crossed after the break to ensure all five points for the second-placed Chiefs.

Like Baxter, though, winger Woodburn admitted it wasn’t a vintage display from the Chiefs and says areas will be addressed by the team ahead of their next fixture against bottom club Bristol on Saturday, April 8.

“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves, but the good thing is we’ve got time to look at things before we play Bristol,” said Woodburn. “We know we are going to have to look at a couple of things we got wrong, like the way we started the game and the way we trained during the week. That said, we’re happy to come away with the five points and we’ll enjoy the victory for what it is.”

The 25-year-old praised Sale for their display – particularly first half – but knows he and his team-mates cannot afford to start slowly in future fixtures.

“It took us probably 40 or 50 minutes to really get into the game,” he added. “We just need to start games better. Sale played that first half almost perfectly, they pinned us back in our half with kicks and didn’t really let us out that much.”

Thankfully, the Chiefs – now with the elements in their favour – were much improved during the second half and were able to finally implement their game plan on their rivals.

Next up for the Chiefs is the visit of lowly Bristol, who with just four games of the scheduled season remaining know they are fighting tooth and nail for their Premiership existence

“Bristol are bottom, so we don’t want to trip over them,” warned Woodburn, who is now into his second season with the Chiefs. “We know they’ll come here with nothing to lose and everything to gain, so it makes a difficult game for us.

“It’ll add a bit more pressure on us, so we have to be focused and ready to meet their threat. We know we’re a good side with great players and great systems. We just don’t want to play like today each week.”

Latest News

Joe Marler commits to Harlequins until 2021

Harlequins is thrilled to announce today, Friday 18th August, that England and British and Irish Lions prop, Joe Marler, has…

Joe Marler

European fixtures to be released on Tuesday

The fixtures for the 2017/18 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season will be announced on Tuesday, 22 August at 3.00pm…

Rokoduguni starts for Bath Rugby against Ospreys

Semesa Rokoduguni will make his first appearance of pre-season when Bath Rugby take on Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on…

Harlequins team to play Jersey Reds

Harlequins has announced the squad to play Jersey Reds in the final match of the 2017/18 pre-season campaign, at The…

Francis Saili

Stringer starts for Worcester Warriors at Birmingham Moseley

Summer signing Peter Stringer will get his first start for Warriors on Friday night as his side take on Birmingham…

London Irish name side for Ealing Trailfinders clash

London Irish have named a 30-man squad for this Friday’s pre-season clash with Ealing Trailfinders at Hazelwood (kick-off 7.30pm). The…

Gloucester Rugby announce line-ups for preseason friendly at Leinster

Gloucester Rugby will give game time to a number of their first team squad in Leinster on Friday evening as…

American rugby players and coaches to get once in a lifetime opportunity

Thirty American rugby players and coaches are being handed the chance of a lifetime to train in England with Premiership…

Stephen Myler: Northampton Saints ready to fight for the title

Stephen Myler is predicting the closest ever Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign and believes his Northampton Saints side will be right…

Sonatane Takulua expecting big things from Newcastle Falcons this season

Sonatane Takulua believes unity and a collective purpose, combined with an improved playing pool, can help propel Newcastle Falcons up…

Sonatane Takulua

Wasps name team for first pre-season fixture against Ulster

Dai Young has named a 26-man squad to take on Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium in the first pre-season fixture…

Anglo-Welsh Cup 2017-18 launched

WORCESTER WARRIORS have the honour of hosting the opening match in this year’s Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday 3 November, when…

Leicester Tigers win the Anglo Welsh Cup

Ally Hogg pleased by Newcastle Falcons’ early progress

Ally Hogg believes Newcastle Falcons are well set to attack the new Aviva Premiership season after a double dose of…

Ally Hogg

Topsy Ojo relishing Exiles return to Aviva Premiership Rugby action at HQ

Topsy Ojo believes there could be no more fitting way for London Irish to announce their return as an Aviva…

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua sees Philadelphia trip as a ‘great opportunity’

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua insists his side’s September clash with Saracens in Philadelphia will be no holiday for the players,…

Sonatane Takulua

Harlequins statement: Luke Wallace and Jonas Mikalcius

Harlequins can confirm today (Tuesday 15th August) that flanker Luke Wallace dislocated his hip during the pre-season friendly against London…

Luke Wallace

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

London Irish will host Bath Rugby at the Madejski Stadium in the opening round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday…

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

HITZ graduate secures first full time job after being inspired by Premiership Rugby final

A teenager from Leigh who overcame a troubled home life and tackled confidence and communication issues thanks to Premiership Rugby…

Lucy Neal

Nick Kennedy delighted with first pre-season hit-out for London Irish

London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy is looking forward to seeing his side build on Saturday’s thrilling contest against…

Nick Kennedy