March 16 2012
I can't wait for next Saturday when we get back to AP action with a visit to Kingsholm.
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs
This is how the sides stand going into next Saturday's match and as you can see there's not much to chose between them.
|Position||Played||Won||Draw||Lost||For||Against||Tries For||Tries Against||TBP||LBP||Points|
So, you'd think it's likely to be a pretty tight affair and it may well work out that way. Will home advantage be significant? Well looking at the stats Glaws have won 6 from 8 at home, 3 by a big margin and 3 where the away side have taken a LBP. The Chiefs have won 4 from 8 away games and only failed to pick up a LBP from 1 away game. This suggests home advantage might favour Glaws with the Chiefs likely to come away with a LBP. Looking at recent stats shows Glaws are 3 from 5 in 2012 plus a draw and Chiefs are 4 from 5 including 3 away victories and a home win over Leicester who demolished Glaws in the mud at Welford Road.
However we all know how reliable statistics are! It's how well the sides are prepared by kick off that counts and both have had chance to take a rest and regroup over the last 3 weeks. I for one can't wait to take my place in the shed with The Tribe and cheer the Chiefs on. If we get a LBP so be it but I know Rob & Co will have continued their call to the Chiefs squad to play with ambition. Even if we don't get the LBP we're still going to be 5th (unless Glaws get 5 points) going into the last few games of the season. What a fantastic place to be, must be the second season syndrom people kept talking about!?
Come On You Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs....
Quote:Rob Baxter hopes the lessons of Exeter Chiefs' past mistakes will help them finish the season strongly and secure a Heineken Cup berth.
The Sandy Park outfit return to action at Gloucester on Saturday three weeks after their last outing, a dominant 37-12 defeat of Sale.
With Exeter fifth in the Aviva Premiership and Gloucester sixth, there is a lot potentially riding on the game as both want to finish in the top half of the table at the very least.
But Baxter is keen for his players to avoid sitting down and working out the various permutations based on the remaining games for the sides in the mix at the top of the table.
He thinks the Chiefs fell into that trap in the second half of last season and hopes the players focus on their performances instead this time around.
"If you start worrying about what everyone else is going to do and how you're going to end up and how many points you need for this or that, you lose your way a little bit," Baxter said.
"The important thing is that we fare well this week and we focus on what we have to do against Gloucester and how we can do things better.
"If we worrying about how many points Sale or Bath are going to get we could lose our focus, as we have done in the past.
"This stage last season, or maybe a little earlier, we got carried away thinking two wins could have pushed us into the top half of the league and it didn't work for us very well.
"What we're good at is focusing on ourselves and what we want to achieve on a game-by-game basis and everything else tends to look after itself.
"We can't determine what results other teams will get, what we've got to do is push on and enjoy doing what we're doing."
Saturday's match will see Gloucester put their six-game winning run at Kingsholm on the line against an Exeter side who have won six of their last seven away games in all competitions since November.
History is on Gloucester's side as Exeter have not won a competitive fixture at Kingsholm and lost 37-23 in front of the Shed last term.
However, the side should be boosted by the return of first-choice backs Sireli Naqelevuki and Luke Arscott this weekend.
Powerful Fijian centre Naqelevuki has not played since breaking his right arm against Gloucester in November, with complications on his return to training delaying his return.
And full-back Arscott has missed the last six matches after picking up a nerve problem in his neck/shoulder area in the win against Perpignan in the Amlin Challenge Cup at the end of January.
Baxter said both are available for selection after training with their teammates last week.
"They both played a full part in training, which was nice to see," Baxter confirmed. "In a lot of ways we're becoming a fitter and fresher squad as time goes by, but everyone who's not been involved in the LV will be a little bit happier now.
"After a couple of weeks without a game you tend to bring guys back pretty quickly.
"We're in a nice place and for me it's about making sure the guys are focused on positive things and want to do well over this period of the season.
"If we want to be a successful team going forward, this is where successful players and good players really show their mettle and come through. This is where you start winning things."
Baxter, who had a brief spell at Gloucester in his playing days, knows his side are up against it this weekend.
Not only do they have to contend with the Cherry & Whites' impressive home record, but Bryan Redpath's men are used to battling it out for honours at the end of the campaign.
"It's a tough place to go, it's the business end of the season and Gloucester are a well-established club who expect to be fighting it out for things at the end of the season," said Baxter.
"It's a big fixture for us to come back in with but we're a team that's going pretty well at the minute, we're on good form, so it will be a good test for us.
"We've had a nice break, it's about being energetic now and making sure the break has done us some good, making us refreshed and ready to fire into the last part of the season."