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Thomas refuses to panic

Haydn Thomas insists there will be no panic within the ranks despite Exeter Chiefs slipping to a third successive Aviva Premiership defeat on Saturday.

In what was Thomas' 200th appearance for the Devon outfit, it was former club Gloucester who took the spoils 26-25 in a highly entertaining encounter at a packed Sandy Park.

After back-to-back losses away to Sale Sharks and Bath Rugby, Rob Baxter's side were hoping a return to familiar home surroundings would provide the ideal catalyst for them to rediscover their winning formula.

Sadly, it was not to be as the Cherry & Whites stubbornly held firm in the latter stages to deny their hosts, who were left kicking themselves at the final whistle despite tries from Jack Nowell, Matt Jess and the free-scoring Thomas Waldrom.

Despite the setback, Thomas says the frustration that exists within the Exeter ranks will be channelled in the right way this week and that the Chiefs will head to London Irish this Sunday determiend to get themselves firmly back on track.

"It’s a big game for us against London Irish, but it was a big game for us against Gloucester," said the 32-year-old. "We’ve got to start putting in some performances that are going to get us results.

"Obviously because we’ve lost the last three now and are chasing a win it’s even more important but I don’t think we’ll change anything, we’ll look at ourselves and look to improve the bits we can improve and look to get a better performance."

Having trailed 6-0 at the break on Saturday, the Chiefs were much improved after the break and held the lead a number of times until Ben Morgan claimed a crucial converted score late in the half.

Head coach Baxter was frustrated after the contest, and Thomas said that was the same for all of the players.

"It’s massively frustrating," said Thomas, who was unable to celebrate his milestone as he would have wanted.

"All I can think about is the game and how it slipped away from us.

"We’re really disappointed not to get the win but Gloucester played well, we weren’t good enough and you’ve got to be on top of your game to get results in the Premiership.

"I think if we’d played to our full potential we would have won, so I can see why Rob (Baxter) is frustrated. I’m frustrated and I think everyone in the squad is frustrated."

For Gloucester the win not only ended their disappointing festive period that saw them crash to home defeats against Bath and Wasps, but gave them the perfect start to 2015 where they will be looking to kick on.

Waldrom’s ninth try of the season left the Chiefs a point down with nine minutes to play, but Gareth Steenson – who had already kicked 10 points – hit an upright with his conversion attempt.

Gloucester were able to see out the remaining minutes, and Thomas said his side need to find some greater consistency after seeing their eight-game winning run turn into a losing habit.

"That’s why the teams at the top of the table are there, because they can put in an accurate performance week in, week out," he said. "We’ve got to look to get that sort of consistency into our game."

And one of the positives for the Chiefs was that the game attracted a record crowd, with 12,621 people packing into Sandy Park to watch the derby.

Thomas continued: "I’ve never experienced anything like it, the crowd were superb – Sandy Park is just getting better and better."
 

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