Fixtures - Top Bar

Francis aims to build on Saints win

Tomas Francis believes Friday night’s first-ever win at Northampton Saints could be a defining point for the Exeter Chiefs moving forward this season.

Rob Baxter’s side moved up to second in the Aviva Premiership standings, just two points behind the Saints, following their 24-18 victory at Franklin’s Gardens.

A powerful first half display from the visitors saw them storm into a 21-6 lead at the break thanks to converted tries from Luke Cowan-Dickie and Thomas Waldrom (2).

Fly-half Gareth Steenson slotted the extras to all three scores, as well as adding a second half penalty to ensure Exeter of their fifth league win in seven starts.

For Francis, a summer signing from Championship side London Scottish, it has certainly been a dream start to life at Sandy Park. The 22-year-old has been a virtual ever-present in the Chiefs match-day squad already this term – and his powerful scrummaging has already won him rave reviews.

Against the Saints on Friday, Francis was part of a Chiefs side who quickly set about dismantling last season’s Premiership champions on their own turf.

Exeter’s superb first half showing laid the foundations for their success, although it was in defence in the second period where they were equally as good, repelling a late onslaught from Jim Mallinder’s men.

"We said from the start the battle was going to be up front,” said Francis. “We knew we had to take them on – not settle for par – and get an early foot hold on the game. I thought we did that really well and that set the platform for us."

Indeed, it took the Chiefs barely two minutes to make their mark as Cowan-Dickie, a late call-up at hooker for the injured Jack Yeandle, stole over for Exeter’s opening try from a driving maul.

No.8 Waldrom added further tries before the break – including an intercept that saw him race over half the length of the pitch to score – before Steenson landing a telling penalty early in the second half to put the Chiefs further clear.

"The boys really showed their heart in the end," added Francis. "We knew coming here would be tough, but we gave everything in that first 40 minutes. We got ourselves a good lead and then we were able to hang in there during the second half.

"This result, I think, could define our season. Some people had said we had an easy start to the season and that these next three games would really test us. As we know, there are no easy games at this level, but we’ve got another good win under out belt and hopefully we can continue to stay in the top four."

With back-to-back encounters against Wasps and Saracens next up, Francis says it’s vital that the Chiefs look to make the most of home comforts during the next fortnight.

"Sandy Park is like a bit of a fortress for us, so hopefully we can carry this form into those two games," he continued. "We’ve got an eight-day turnaround from this game, so it’s important we get freshened up and back out there for what will be a tough game against Wasps next weekend."
 

Latest News

England squad to Argentina confirmed

Eddie Jones has confirmed his squad ahead of England’s two-Test series against Argentina next month. The squad has assembled today…

James Haskell: Exeter Chiefs were better than Wasps

Wasps back row James Haskell admits his side made too many mistakes to claim the Aviva Premiership Rugby title on…

Aviva Premiership Rugby Final: The best of the reaction to Exeter Chiefs’ triumph

Gareth Steenson’s extra-time penalty sent Exeter Chiefs fans into ecstasy at Twickenham on Saturday, as the West Country outfit claimed…

Match Reaction: Wasps 20 Exeter Chiefs 23 (AET)

Years of hard-work have paid off for Exeter Chiefs according to head coach Rob Baxter, after the Devon side lifted…

AUDIO: Yeandle, Haskell and Townsend reflect on the Aviva Premiership final

Russell Hargreaves looks back on a dramatic and extended Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham, before speaking to victorious Exeter Chiefs…

Match Report: Wasps 20 Exeter Chiefs 23 (AET)

Seven years after kicking Exeter Chiefs into Aviva Premiership Rugby, skipper Gareth Steenson proved once again that ice runs through…

HITZ learning academy gear up for the Aviva Premiership Rugby final

Around 30 young people from across the country will be at this afternoon’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham to…

Aviva Premiership Rugby Final: Review of the finalists’ most recent head-to-heads

Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final sees table-toppers Wasps face off against second-placed Exeter Chiefs, in what promises to be a…

Six things to look out for in this Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final

After nearly nine months of intense competition, the fate of the Aviva Premiership Rugby trophy comes down to 80 minutes…

Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 23 Stade Francais 22

Courtney Lawes revealed that he overcame illness to put in another man-of-the-match performance in Northampton Saints’ European Rugby Champions Cup…

Match Report: Northampton Saints 23 Stade Francais 22

Northampton Saints pulled off a stunning comeback victory to upset Stade Francais and secure European Champions Cup rugby for next…

Thomas Waldrom out to finish the job with Exeter Chiefs

Thomas Waldrom is ready to put the seal on a season of hard graft by helping Exeter Chiefs to lift…

Thomas Waldrom

Key moments of the season for our Aviva Premiership Rugby finalists

After two frantically-contested semi-finals, excitement is building for what will surely be a thrilling Aviva Premiership Rugby Final between Wasps…

Exeter Chiefs side to face Wasps in the Aviva Premiership Final

It was seven years today that Exeter Chiefs finally arrived at English rugby’s top table. On a wet and wild…

Olly Woodburn

Wasps team to play Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership Final

Director of Rugby Dai Young has named his Wasps’ side for the Aviva Premiership Final against Exeter Chiefs, at Twickenham…

Josh Bassett and Willie Le Roux

Sean Maitland signs contract extension with Saracens

Saracens are delighted to announce that Scotland international Sean Maitland has signed a contract extension with the Club. Capped 28…

Sean Maitland

Ashley Johnson ready for daunting Twickenham final challenge

Wasps might have finished the Aviva Premiership Rugby season top of the table but hooker Ashley Johnson believes they will…