Exeter Chiefs fighting back from slow start
- Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle
Exeter Chiefs are seldom better than when they have their backs-to-the-wall, and pressures on and off the pitch may have helped to kickstart their Premiership season - a 27-23 win at Wasps is the latest evidence of 'normal service' being resumed.
After defeats in their first two matches, along with criticism of their 'Chiefs' brand and those 'headdress' favours, a bit of siege mentality around Sandy Park has coincided with three successive victories and a surge up to fourth place.
A weekend's break in the Tribute South West season allowed club fans to focus on the Chiefs, and they were rewarded by a typically powerful display, which saw them come from behind to win in fabulous fashion at Coventry's Ricoh Stadium.
Henry Slade, who also kicked seven points, Alex Cordero, Sam Simmonds and the match-winner from Jonny Hill saw Exeter outscore Wasps by four tries to two, topped by some trademark committed defending in the last ten minutes to secure the victory.
Wasps coach Lee Blackett was 'pretty gutted' after his side's effort went unrewarded, while Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher said: "We went into a bit of a safe mode - that lost us big games last year. Mentally, we've got to nail that bit down.
"But second half, we kept at it and, when we got our chances late on, we were clinical."
London Irish at Sandy Park this Saturday is a big chance to keep the revival going.
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The local club campaign also resumes, a tasty programme led off by Exmouth-v-Brixham at the Imperial Rec'.
The game doubles as a SW Premier and Devon Cup match, and it should be worth seeing - the Cockles are off the back of an excellent win at Bournemouth a fortnight ago, while Brixham gave their best performance of the season in a one-score defeat to unbeaten leaders Exeter University.
Sidmouth (9th) entertain South West One leaders St Austell.
In Cornwall & Devon, Withycombe (9th) travel to Liskeard & Looe and Topsham, only three points behind Bude in fourth place, are away to Tavistock (7th).