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‘We need to respond’ – Armand

Don Armand insists he and his Exeter Chiefs team-mates owe it to themselves and the club’s supporters to bounce back with a big home display against Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership this Saturday (3pm).
After two rounds of battle, Rob Baxter’s side have yet to post a league victory – having gone down to Wasps (25-20) on the opening day, and then champions Saracens (34-13) at Sandy Park on Sunday.
Back-row star Armand admits the table does not make for pretty reading, but insists there have been positives to take from both performances and he hopes another week on the training field will ensure the Chiefs are in fine fettle for the visit of the Londoners.
“If you cut out the scoreline from the weekend – that’s easier said than done – there were again positives to take from the game,” said the 27-year-old. “What we have to do is work on them, it’s still early in the season, and don’t harp on too much about the negatives.
“Yes, we’re disappointed with how things have gone, but let’s make sure we learn from the things we did wrong and then capitalise on the things we did right.”
Certainly Harlequins will pose another stiff test for the Chiefs, but Armand says the team must make the most of home advantage this weekend.
Not since September 2014 have Devon’s finest lost two consecutive league games at home, so Armand and Co are well aware they don’t want to re-write a new top flight statistic.
“First and foremost we want to rescue results for the fans, as well as ourselves,” he added. “If you look at Sunday, you have to give them big credit because they got louder and louder as the game went on.
“There is nothing worse than fans turning on you when you are losing, you need to be picked up at times like that, and that’s exactly what they did. That’s why we owe to them and not just ourselves to pick up a win this weekend.”
For that to happen, however, the Chiefs will need to produce an 80-minute display against a Quins side, who kicked off their season with a win over newly-promoted Bristol in the London Double Header, but then went down to Sale Sharks last time out.
“At this level you have to be switched on for the full 80 minutes, especially against a side like Sarries,” warned Armand, who in the summer was one of six Chiefs who toured South Africa with the England Saxons.
“They are so good because they stick to their system and choke you out in the end. If you’re not ready, like we were early in the game, then you definitely pay the price.
“Even though it was 12-6 at half time, playing into the wind in the second half, you always knew they were going to make it hard. They make you play and play until you make a mistake and that’s when they look to capitalise. They do it very well and it’s something we need to learn from.”

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