TOP BAR - Fixtures

Match Stats - Fix Info

Preview: London Irish v Exeter Chiefs

Preview: London Irish v Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter is refusing to press the panic button just yet ahead of the Chiefs’ visit to London Irish despite suffering back-to-back Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats.

After a blistering start to this season domestically the Chiefs lost last weekend against in-form Sale Sharks, which followed hot on the heels of their home defeat against fellow high-flyers Saracens.

Exeter remain in second place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table despite losing three of their last five matches in the competition.

The Chiefs only win on the road in their last five matches in all tournaments was 30-15 at Worcester Warriors in Round 10 of Premiership Rugby.

However, in their favour is the recent good run of form against the Exiles; the Chiefs only reversal in their last eight encounters with London Irish was 26-28 at Madejski Stadium in this equivalent fixture last January.

And Baxter said: "What I don't want is the players thinking that there will be a raft of changes in how we attack and defend and do things generally, simply because it doesn't require dramatic changes, just small changes.

"I certainly wasn't watching the Sale game thinking I was going to make a raft of changes to the team either.

"We have lost to Saracens by one score and Sale by one score with things happening in both games which cost us. If you spread that out over the course of a season they are not dramas.

"Part of dealing with those losses is going to London Irish and playing really well. If we go there and don't play well then we haven't dealt with it – that would be a bigger concern for me than the two games that have just gone past."

London Irish's three victories in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season have all come in the last six rounds, and all at Madejski Stadium against Northampton Saints, Newcastle Falcons and Worcester.

And assistant boss Richard Whiffin is hoping to keep that sequence going despite the threat posed by former Exile James Short. 

The 26-year-old left Irish in July and has gone on to score nine tries in 15 appearances for the Chiefs.

“I'm pleased he's gone down there and really shown his attacking capability," said Whiffin.

"When he was here, we really wanted him to break through. There were just a few things in the other parts of his game that we felt needed work.

"He's certainly gone down to Exeter and shown how good a player he is.

"He probably didn't get the rub of the green. You've got to remember the guys we had fit and available for us at the time.

"Alex Lewington, Topsy Ojo and Andrew Fenby were all in the top 20 for line-breaks and clean breaks in that season.

"They were playing outstandingly well in their own right."

Madejski Stadium, 3pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: Dean Richards (85th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton & Paul Dix. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Gallery Lineups

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups

Related News