Last year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby finalists Exeter Chiefs have three losses from their opening five matches, but prop Harry Williams insists Rob Baxter and his team of coaches are working round the clock to iron out the flaws.
The Chiefs went down to a last-gasp Harry Mallinder kick at Northampton Saints last weekend, following opening defeats to Wasps and Saracens.
But young tighthead Williams is adamant there is no sense of panic or pressure in the Exeter camp, as thanks to Baxter and co the squad are well aware of what needs to change if they are to convert narrow defeats into convincing wins.
And with bragging rights on the line when West County rivals Gloucester visit Kingsholm next up, Williams admits now would be the perfect time to find their very best form.
“I said the same thing after the Wasps game, that yes it is disappointing to lose by a point, but it’s positive that we are now so frustrated in losing by a point away at Franklin’s Gardens,” he said.
“Our performance didn’t let us down as we started strongly and there were times where we felt like we were very much on top territorially and physically around the pitch.
“But we were guilty of taking our foot off the gas slightly and they hit us with two quick tries, and once their crowd started getting involved as well it was a different story.
“The coaches are going over everything with a fine-toothed comb and there are areas we can improve upon and fine tune – stuff that might not be immediately obvious when watching as a spectator.
“We’ve got Gloucester next up and in derby games all bets are off; it doesn’t matter what comes before or after, it’s about how you perform on that day.
“We’ll have a good ding-dong battle, and there is a bit of extra pressure on us being at home, but everyone is excited and ready to crack on this Saturday. It will be a battle out there.”
Williams started last season’s Aviva Premiership final for Exeter at the end of his first season in England’s top flight, and at just 25 is adamant he still has plenty to improve on.
This term he has a Rugby World Cup finalist in Greg Holmes rivalling him for the Chiefs’ No.3 shirt, but while he has still featured in four of Exeter’s five league matches so far, Williams is not settling for anything less than his best.
He said: “I’m not really patting myself on the back or anything like that just yet. There are still plenty of areas where I can improve and want to improve upon.
“Everyone is the same as me; we have quite a young set-up here, and that is the general attitude throughout the whole squad.
“No-one’s position is safe, that’s what it’s like being in a top team, and everyone is playing to better themselves and do the best for the team.”