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Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath


Louw: return

By P G Tips
November 29 2017

Bath face their toughest challenge of the season yet against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday. Chiefs, now leading the table by a clear 5 points have hit form in time for a demanding run of European and Christmas domestic fixtures. Bath, facing a tough December themselves, enjoyed their best 20 minute spell of this campaign against Quins before fading. They will need to play the full 80, at greater tempo and intensity, to get any change from the Chiefs.

This could be a season defining clash for both teams, with Exeter at first glance the more likely to succeed. They have won only one more Premiership match than Bath but their superior bonus points, points difference and try tally tell of a team near to fulfilling their potential. Bath on the other hand are one of 6 clubs with a negative try count and have been vulnerable so far to sides who play with continuity and high intensity. Exeter’s edge puts them out on their own at the moment, with Saracens and Bath leading a chasing pack of 5 clubs – Leicester, Gloucester, Wasps are the others bracketed by only 6 points. There will be a lot of jostling between these five before playoff places are decided.

 

It is hard to say who are “the chief of the Chiefs” given Exeter’s squad depth and careful player rotation management. One player rested simply means another of similar quality and ambition steps up. They will be welcoming back 3 from England duty of whom Sam Simmonds in the back row is perhaps the most eye-catching. Henry Slade had his moments too against Samoa and there is a possibility that the 2 Cornish icons, Cowan –Dickie and Nowell will return to boost their match day 23. For all the finishing power of Woodburn and Hill, it is the Devonian forwards whom Bath must beware most –especially the back row where they can select from Armand, Kvesic, Simmonds and Waldrom.

 

Chiefs will give Bath a dilemma both in attack and defence.  Their patient keep ball build up- arguably the best in the Premiership, not only demands constant defensive concentration, but also threatens one of Bath’s key attacking philosophies: the territorial kicking duel. Any ball given away generously is likely to haunt the visitors, as possession and ground will be returned with interest. They will ruck intensively and potently too, although their style of clear-out often leads to players going off their feet, as Rob Baxter tacitly admitted after their match at Sale. JP Doyle may find himself busy interpreting the legality of the breakdown.

 

Bath must probe for weakness. One possible area is the defence of Steenson, so vital to Chiefs direction in other phases; he is often parked “safely” on the wing in defence. With two fine aerial wings in Banahan and Rokodoguni, Bath may wish to pepper his wing with kicks, or if they can get enough forwards wide, use the 2-4-2 formation to get the likes of Garvey or Louw running at him. Another ploy, since Exeter put numbers into the breakdown, is to attempt to bust through the middle with any loose ball won.

 

Whatever tactics the coaches adopt Bath know they will need their best away performance of the season to stand a chance. All the bookmakers have the hosts odds on to win, even though Bath were the last Premiership side to triumph at Sandy Park (over a year ago). Exeter have an admirable work ethic and team ethos to rival Saracens, fuelled by a never-say-die attitude. Bath need to copy that with pride and summon up the spirit that saw them triumph at Welford Road in September. With Ewels, Louw, Priestland, Joseph, Rokodoguni, Watson and possibly even Thomas available for selection they don’t lack for test quality warriors. What they need this weekend is to find not only the will, but the way.

 

  

Bath:

Obano, Dunn, Perenise, Ewels, ,Charteris,  Garvey (Capt.). Louw, Grant. Fotuali’I, Burns. Banahan, Tapuai, Joseph, Rokodoguni. Watson.

Replacements: Auterac, V Vuuren, Andrews, Stooke, Mercer. Cook, Priestland. Brew.

 

Exeter: Moon, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Lees, Hill, Armand, Kvesic, Simmonds. White, Steenson,  Turner, Whitten, Slade, , Woodburn; Dollman

 Replacements: Malton, Hepburn, Low, Salmon, Waldrom. Chudley, Hill, Short.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comeonmylovers.co.uk
Comeonmylovers.co.uk (IP Logged)

Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
29/11/2017 15:01
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:12:06:16:46:55 by CoochieCoo.

 
nick holder
nick holder (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
29/11/2017 15:37
Looking fwd to it, strong selection and bench if that is what we go with esp like the two strong halfback combinations.

 
MESSAGES->author
BathSalmon (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
29/11/2017 15:44
Wonder how we will come out on the possession stats verses the best team in the league at holding onto the ball and churning through the phases?

From what I can see we are currently operating at:

Average of:
39.2% match possession (aviva and euro)
42.9% 1st half
38.3% 2nd half

High of:
47% vs Worcester
52% 1st half
43% 2nd half

Low of:
34% vs Wasps
38% 1st half
30% 2nd half

Will we see less ball than against Wasps, or more than against Worcester?

Adopted Player 17-18 & 16-17: Dave Attwood
Adopted Player 15-16: Matt Garvey

 
P G Tips
P G Tips (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
29/11/2017 16:17
Interesting that we won both of those matches.

PG

P G Tips



Paul Grant: my adopted Player, 2017-18.

 
MESSAGES->author
BathSalmon (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
29/11/2017 16:26
What I didn't keep track of was: were we winning at half time and did we start kicking more ball away in the second half, trying to control field position, hence the lower second half possession.

Also do we tend to win or lose the 2nd halves with less possession?

 
P G Tips
P G Tips (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
29/11/2017 16:50
We won the second half against Wasps!

PG

P G Tips



Paul Grant: my adopted Player, 2017-18.

 
Boldangrey
Boldangrey (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
29/11/2017 18:09
Possession and territory stats these days are starting to mean nothing.

It's what you do with it.

NZ had far less than Wal, but scored just about every time they entered their half.

 
Bath Hammer
Bath Hammer (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
30/11/2017 12:30
Quote:
Boldangrey
Possession and territory stats these days are starting to mean nothing.
It's what you do with it.

NZ had far less than Wal, but scored just about every time they entered their half.

Not just in rugby. West Ham had far more possession than Everton yesterday & lost 4-0.

 
annie blackthorn
annie blackthorn (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
01/12/2017 09:43
Very intelligent fair assessment.
Last year, when we won by a whisker, we had Ford orchestrating a lengthy backwards and sideways spell to get the try in extra time.

All I know is it'll probably be bally cold!

Adoptee for 2017/18 James Phillips - newly arrived and bringing a wealth of experience in the Prem!

 
Bath Hammer
Bath Hammer (IP Logged)

Re: Challenge of the Chiefs: Exeter v Bath
02/12/2017 01:34
I realise too much emphasis can be put on possession stats but without Louw or Underhill playing I fear that we will have very little ball tomorrow. What we mustnít do is kick away what little possession we have & take whatever opportunities we get. Our defensive capabilities will also have to be at their best.

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