TOP BAR - Fixtures

LV= Cup preview: Exeter Chiefs v Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby made a flying start to the LV= Cup last weekend but skipper Charlie Ewels knows a trip to face the reigning champions is a different kettle of fish.

A seven-try showing saw off London Welsh in convincing fashion on Saturday as Bath flew to the top of Pool 1 with a 47-7 victory at the Rec.

Ewels, who had made his first home start against European giants Toulouse the previous weekend, was installed as captain and enjoyed a satisfying afternoon in charge.

Now they visit Exeter Chiefs – a reversal of last season’s semi-final in which Bath were beaten 22-19 – but Ewels is not getting carried away by the magnitude of the tie.

“It’s a slightly different dynamic being away from home and obviously Exeter have had a lot of success in this competition, winning it last year,” said the 19-year-old.

“They’re a side who you always know what you’re going to get from them – they will play and they are going to work hard for 80 minutes.

“We’ve got to match that and hopefully surpass it but with the rotation in this competition it’s more about focusing on yourselves.

“All this week at training we’ve been talking about what we’re going to do and how we can affect what’s going on.

“We’ll be as prepared as we can be, produce another performance and hopefully get the result.

“There are always a number of things we can get better at and individuals know what those are and what their roles are within that.

“We’re looking at our systems and get those in as good a place as we can before Saturday.”

The Chiefs made an uncertain start to their title defence last weekend but eventually emerged from Gloucester Rugby’s visit with a 28-27 victory.

They needed a late penalty try to wrestle the lead from the Cherry & Whites before watching Aled Thomas’ last-gasp effort bounce clear off the upright at the other end.

Lock Jerry Sexton – the younger brother of Ireland fly-half Jonathan – made his debut and played the full 80 minutes that day and is expecting an equally tough battle when Bath come to town.

“We’re not sure what team Bath are going to pick but that doesn’t overly matter to us,” he said.

“Whatever team they play we have to focus on our own game and we won’t be afraid to play wide and fast and hopefully we can do enough to beat them.

“It’s great to have two games in a row at home and we’re looking to make Sandy Park a fortress this year.

“We’ve then got three big games in the Premiership against Northampton, Wasps and Saracens so hopefully we can carry some momentum into that run with a win over Bath.”

For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets

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