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Preview: Worcester Warriors v Exeter Chiefs

Preview: Worcester Warriors v Exeter Chiefs

Worcester Warriors head coach Richard Hill can’t wait to return to Sixways this weekend against Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership after a chastening experience at London Irish last time out.

 

The Warriors have not won on the road in the Premiership for 15 months – an unwanted sequence that was stretched to 14 consecutive league defeats with a 26-6 loss to the Exiles last weekend.

But as Hill and the Warriors prepare for the visit of Exeter this weekend – a team just a solitary place above them in the Aviva Premiership table – the Worcester head coach is expecting a completely different performance at Sixways.  

“Those who have watched the Warriors over the last few years have realised at home we are a completely different side. We have got to find the answer to that,” said Hill.

“We had a chat in the dressing room after the London Irish game to find out why we perform like we do away from home.

“I am sure we will see a different side at home against Exeter but we are all working very hard to find a solution to us playing away from Sixways.”

Worcester Warriors have not been in fine form in recent weeks – their sole victory in their last seven Aviva Premiership fixtures was 29-23 at home to London Wasps earlier this month.

Comparatively, Exeter won their most recent away match 27-16 at Harlequins but have not managed back-to-back away victories in the competition since last April.

All three previous Aviva Premiership contests between the two clubs have been taken by the Chiefs, while Worcester’s most recent victory over Exeter was 25-14 at the old County Ground in National One in March 2004.

It has been a good week for Exeter head coach Rob Baxter after it was announced he would form part of Stuart Lancaster’s new-look England coaching staff for the international tour of Argentina in the summer.

With regular England coaches Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell away with the British & Irish Lions, Lancaster has added Baxter and Saracens defence coach Paul Gustard to his backroom team.   

Despite his obvious delight at being recognised for international honours with England, it’s Exeter and their finish to the season that is occupying Baxter’s mind – not the impending trip to Argentina.

“I am very pleased to have been considered for the position, but what I have to do now is do a good job for Exeter,” said Baxter. “First and foremost, it’s about putting all this to the back of my mind for now and worrying more about it when the season finishes.

“I certainly won’t be doing too much before then as we have to get through what is a very important set of fixtures for the club. We’ve got some very big games coming up and that has to be my main focus.

“Yes, this is a fantastic opportunity for me personally, but I am also very aware that opportunities like this come along because of other people’s work within the club.

“The way those people work, along with the players, have given me this opportunity simply because of the hard work they’ve all put in.

“By having good seasons and good performances, the people that are in charge are seen as doing a good job. I don’t think I would get seen quite as well if the team did not perform so well.

“In some ways, it’s a nice little reward for those people as well, but, as tends to happen when you’re the boss, I am the guy that gets the credit. But, from my perspective, I like to thank them all of them for their hard work as this is what creates opportunities like this.”

Referee: David Rose (110th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee & Nigel Carrick.

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