Are the Chiefs evolving from multi digited swamp dwellers ready to conquer Europe?

An interesting piece from the DT on how Exeter have evolved their game to compete more effectively in Europe. It seems Hogg was signed as much for his boot as his counter attacking running game. Is Baxter learning from Eddie the virtue of flexibility and that territory can sometimes be every bit as important as possession? It’s early days yet but still pleasing that Chiefs look ready to have a proper crack at Europe. Will Baxter ‘get it done’ before BOJO? My money is on the Devon farmer….

The article by Ben Coles –
Premiership pace-setters throughout the last five years, Exeter Chiefs have struggled to successfully compete in the Champions Cup during that same period.

Their template has been predictable but incredibly tough for domestic rivals to stop, with Exeter dominating the kicking game and territory while grinding opponents down through the size of their pack. It’s a rugby tale as old as time.

Putting that plan into action in Europe has proven difficult, however, there have been signs in Exeter’s opening wins over La Rochelle and Glasgow Warriors suggesting that they are now able to successfully implement that style in Europe.

Below are figures illustrating how many kicks from hand Exeter made in their first two Champions Cup matches last season, compared to this season.

Rather than needing to dig themselves out of a hole to make the quarter-finals, as was the case last season, Exeter are now one of the front-runners.

Putting pressure back onto the opposition was something we saw Exeter do brilliantly in the second half against Glasgow, when Nic White, Joe Simmonds and Henry Slade pinned the Scottish side back into their 22.

Glasgow could not escape, made errors, and gave up penalties and points. Kicking away possession also worked in La Rochelle, limiting Exeter to only eight turnovers conceded, compared to the Top 14 side total of 17.

The lineout has also been sharper. Exeter won only 20 of their 29 lineouts in those first two games against Munster and Castres last season, a return of 69 percent. Against La Rochelle and Glasgow this season, that number leapt to 18 out of 20, or 90 percent.

Improved set-piece performances and better control of the territory suggest that Exeter have cracked how to win in the Champions Cup.


Author: Slamma47

Once a Wasp always a Wasp 🐝🐝