"Exciting" Start For The Chiefs
7th July 2014
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The Devon club will kick-off their league season on Sunday, September 7 in a televised clash against newly-promoted London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

It will mark a second league visit to the Oxford venue for the Chiefs, who two seasons ago went down 25-24 against the Exiles.

Baxter, though, knows what is needed and with his new-look side already deep into their pre-season planning, the countdown to the new season cannot come soon enough.

“It’s the first time we have had this specific fixture first up, but we’re excited by it because we tend to start the season very well," said Baxter. “Away at London Welsh is not a bad start for us, it gets the rugby juices flowing and the challenge of it will give us a really good focus.

“We were the first to lose to them in the Premiership last time they were up, and that is something that will be in the back of my mind again. We know will have to go there and put in a full 80-minute performance if we want to get anything out of the game.”

In a big first month for the Chiefs, the Welsh clash is followed by a home date with Leicester Tigers; a Friday night trip to Gloucester, before playing host to Harlequins at Sandy Park.

However, such is the competitive nature of English rugby's top flight, it seems there is never an easy period in the campaign.

Baxter added: “We say it every Premiership season. We look at the start we have been given and then pause, take a breath, and talk about how tough it looks. But then we look at it more closely and realise that game six, seven, eight nine and ten are as well.

“That’s what it’s about when you are in the Premiership and you have to enjoy it. We worked very hard to get here and we have to enjoy it. We shouldn’t look at the fixture list and hope to see easy games. We look at them and enjoy the challenges that are there.

“We certainly have a few in that first block but if we hit the ground running in those games, we can set ourselves up well for the season – that’s what we have to make sure we do.”

Indeed, those first four fixtures will be a challenge for the Chiefs, who will also come under the gaze of a global audience as BT Sport are set to screen each game live on their channel.

Such exposure is something the Chiefs are getting more and more and Baxter insists his squad should make the most of such experiences.

He said: “Being a player and being  on TV, they will want to show themselves in the best way. We will talk about it a fair bit in the next month or so – it should be quite interesting for us.

“A Friday night at Kingsholm could be a fantastic experience, and those are the types of games we have to look forward to and relish."

Another big occasion will be the away day with Wasps in April next year when the Chiefs return to Twickenham for the annual 'Stinger' encounter.

Baxter continued: "We probably didn’t do ourselves justice in the Christmas game at Twickenham last year [against Harlequins] and that is something we have under our belts now and can talk about a little more openly.

“We have experienced it, we know what it’s about and we will expect to perform better in those games.”

The European Challenge Cup and LV= Cup fixtures should be confirmed in the coming week.

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Dave B

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