Exeter Chiefs may have fallen off the Aviva Premiership Rugby pace in recent weeks but Carl Rimmer insists no panic buttons are being pressed at Sandy Park.
The Chiefs were the toast of the town heading into December, winning eight games in all competitions on the bounce including eyebrow-raising wins against Northampton Saints and Saracens – both of whom contended last season’s final.
But a slip up at Sale Sharks foreshadowed further defeats to West Country rivals Bath and Gloucester Rugby, the latter made particularly bitter as an unfortunate Gareth Steenson saw a potentially game-winning conversion rebound off the post.
However, despite currently being on the outside looking in as far as the top four spots are concerned, front-row forward Rimmer insists small improvements can turn into big gains.
“Personally the last three weeks have been tough for all of us, even though the form over the season has overall been good,” said Rimmer.
“But as a rule that usually means you have to re-evaluate at some point and step it up again.
“It’s just smart play, everyone’s endeavour isn’t in question. But it’s about making sure those results go our way, we were doing it at the start of the year and midway through, the eight-game winning streak wasn’t a coincidence.
"It’s now about going back and looking what we were doing really well in those instances, those small parts of our game that can turn losses into wins.
“We went straight up to the top of the table and held our place in the top four so there’s no point worrying and panicking all of a sudden because we’ve fallen down a couple of places and the table is now evening out.
“That was always going to happen and it would have been great not to lose three games, of course. But it’s happened now and the beauty it is at this stage of the season we can push us right back up the table.”
And though the width of a post denied Chiefs the chance to kick their slump last time out, Rimmer believes it would only have papered over the cracks that needed to be permanently filled ahead of this weekend’s fixture with London Irish.
But Rimmer added: “It would have probably glossed over a few of the facts that we would have still needed to address, it’s certainly not fair to blame the loss on (Steenson’s missed conversion).
“If it had gone over it would have been brilliant and would have given us a slight reason to be happier, but there was still loads of stuff during the game we could have changed and made that kick far less important.”
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