Chiefs side to face Worcester Warriors
28th September 2018
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Ali Hepher insists Exeter Chiefs have been duly warned of the threat posed by visiting Worcester Warriors in tomorrow's Gallagher Premiership clash at Sandy Park (3pm).


Worcester's impressive 44-37 win at Leicester Tigers last weekend certainly lifted heads across the division, not just in the fact that it elevated the Warriors off the foot of the table with their first win of the campaign, but the fact they were able to pick off their more illustrious rivals in their own lair.


Now, they will head West looking to not only build on that success, but at the same time claim the scalp of the Chiefs, who themselves have opened up with a perfect four from four record.


Positioned nicely in second spot heading into Round 5, it's been a best-ever start to a top-flight season for Devon's finest. That said, head coach Hepher believes his side have yet to crank fully into gear and is looking for them to kick-on yet further over the coming weeks and months.


"Obviously we're delighted to have won the opening four games, but at the same time we're still looking for a pick-up in performance," said Hepher. "If we're being honest, the last few weeks in terms of performance have not been as great as we would have liked, so we've had to look at certain areas and aspects of our game.


"Certainly, we'd like to up our intensity in both attack and defence which, if we do that, then we can return to the quality performances we've already had this season."


An ominous warning to Exeter's rivals, but for Hepher the need to raise standards and improve quality is imperative if the Chiefs are to achieve their seasonal objectives.


"We don't tend to look too much at what others are doing, it's all about us," added Hepher.  "We've got to be building. At the moment we're in a block of six Premiership games and two European games, which we have to attack and go after as best we can.  We're halfway through at the moment, but we need to be building by the week.  The exciting thing for us as coaches is that we see more growth in us, yet we're still winning games."


Standing in the way of the Chiefs next are the Warriors, who incidentally were the only team to win at Sandy Park in the Premiership last season. A 6-5 victory back in February still lingers in the minds of many, but Hepher insists he and his team cannot afford to spend too much time reflecting on past performances.


"Last season is gone and we have to move on," he said. "The bigger picture is that we have to focus on the here and now. Looking at Worcester they are performing well and they'll come here this weekend on the back of a good win last week at Leicester. We know they have quality within their ranks, but so do we and we have to make that count.


"If we take any kind of backward step and chill out, they'll be all over us.  We're aware of their threats and how they like to play, so we've got to make sure we have that aggression and real intensity in our defence and then back it up with good, quality attack, where we keep the ball and cause them a lot of problems."


As has been the case in every game this season, the Chiefs have again utilised their squad to the full ahead of kick-off. With options aplenty at the disposal of the Exeter coaching staff right now, changes have again been made to their winning formula, including the decision to give England trio Luke Cowan-Dickie, Don Armand and Henry Slade a well-earned week off.


In the pack, a new-look front-row sees Alec Hepburn, Jack Yeandle and Tomas Francis all start tomorrow's fixture, as do powerhouse forwards Dave Dennis and Dave Ewers.  Behind the scrum, Gareth Steenson returns at fly-half for Joe Simmonds, Ollie Devoto is recalled in the centre, while on the wing Jack Nowell is also back in action, meaning a shift for Santiago Cordero to full-back.


15 Santiago Cordero

14 Jack Nowell

13 Ian Whitten

12 Ollie Devoto

11 Alex Cuthbert

10 Gareth Steenson

9 Jack Maunder

1 Alec Hepburn

2 Jack Yeandle (capt)

3 Tomas Francis

4 Dave Dennis

5 Jonny Hill

6 Dave Ewers

7 Matt Kvesic

8 Sam Simmonds


16 Elvis Taione

17 Ben Moon

18 Harry Williams

19 Ollie Atkins

20 Sean Lonsdale

21 Stu Townsend

22 Joe Simmonds

23 Sam Hill


About the Author

Mark S

Member since: 5th January 2016

Hi, I am Mark Stevens, Media and Communications Manager for the Exeter Chiefs

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