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

Owen Farrell wary of Glasgow Warriors threat

Revenge for the RBS 6 Nations may be on the minds of Glasgow Warriors’ players when they visit Saracens in…

Biyi Alo: Worcester Warriors cannot afford to take foot off the gas

Worcester Warriors prop Biyi Alo believes his side must continue to look up the table ahead of their Aviva Premiership…

Jacob Rowan, Billy Vunipola, Christian Wade and Jeremy Thrush star in OPTA Rugby Rankings

Saracens No.8 Billy Vunipola was back to his rampaging best in his club’s crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby victory over Bath…

Referee appointments for EPCR quarter-finals

It is not only Aviva Premiership Rugby’s playing stars that will be under the spotlight this weekend in the European…

Six exciting prospects join Harlequins Academy for 2017/18 season

Harlequins is today (Wednesday 29th March) proud to announce that six members of the Club's victorious U18s side will join…

Twickenham Stoop

Denny Solomona; “I’ve been here three years and it’s the choice I want to make”

Sale Sharks flying winger Denny Solomona is now eligible to play for England after receiving notification from the RFU. Speaking…

Denny Solomona

Saints community coaching helps Royal Latin reach Twickenham

This afternoon the first team from Buckingham’s Royal Latin School will be running out at Twickenham, thanks to the coaching…

Italy prop Michele Rizzo agrees new deal with Leicester Tigers

Italy international prop Michele Rizzo has agreed a new contract with Leicester Tigers. Rizzo has returned from injury to take…

Michele Rizzo

Former Scotland skipper Andy Nicol looks ahead to exciting Champions Cup clashes

As an ex-Glasgow Warrior Andy Nicol is delighted to see the Scotstoun outfit side reach the quarter-finals of the Champions…

RFU Disciplinary Hearing: Bryce Heem

The charge against Bryce Heem of Worcester Warriors for tackling the jumper in the air, contrary to law 10.4(i), was…

Bryce Heem

Saracens to thank Emergency Services at Derby Day

Saracens are offering complimentary tickets to any member of the London Emergency Services for the upcoming Derby Day clash against…

Wembley

Champions Cup semi-final venues announced

BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton, as well as three French stadiums – the Allianz…

Fly-half Josh Lewis signs for Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to welcome fly-half Josh Lewis, who will join the Club from Ebbw Vale for the 2017/18…

Josh Lewis

Don Armand targeting big final push with Exeter Chiefs

Don Armand insists Exeter Chiefs will make the most of time off to ensure they are in fine fettle for…

Don Armand

RFU Disciplinary: Bryce Heem

Bryce Heem of Worcester Warriors will appear before an RFU Disciplinary panel this evening charged with tackling the jumper in…

Gloucester Rugby respond to rumours regarding Carl Fearns

Gloucester Rugby have today responded to a story in the French press alleging that Carl Fearns will not be joining…

Kingsholm