1st April 2014
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The Sandy Park outfit have lost twice since lifting the LV= Cup a fortnight ago, with Saturday’s 14-13 reverse against Gloucester coming after a 45-15 defeat at Leicester Tigers.

Due to their success in the Anglo-Welsh competition, the Sandy Park players have not had a week off from matches since early August.

Most other teams had a fortnight without a game last month while the Chiefs competed in the knock-out rounds of the LV= Cup. Tui, who has started 23 of Exeter’s 30 games this term, thinks he and his team-mates can prepare well to face Worcester in their next match with the benefit of some time off behind them.

“We’ve got four big games now with a break in the middle for the Heineken Cup,” said the Kiwi, who is joining Lyon for next season.

“We’ve got a week off now, we can let the boys recharge their batteries. A lot of boys have played a lot of rugby week in, week out. We can recharge the batteries now and make sure we focus on the job in hand when we come back and play Worcester.”

The Chiefs dropped a place to ninth in the Aviva Premiership table with their loss against Gloucester last weekend. They needed a win to stay in the hunt for a top-six berth, with Rob Baxter’s side now 14 points behind Harlequins in the final European qualification place.

The contest came down to the last kick of the game, with Gareth Steenson going agonisingly close to converting Don Armand’s try. Former Calvisano forward Tui admitted his side should not have allowed the match to come down to that moment at the death.

He said: “We knew we had to come away with a win on Saturday and we didn’t really kick it on in the first half. We left it too late, until the last five minutes, and when you play a quality side like Gloucester that’s too late.

“We did put (Armand’s try) in the corner. We probably should have tried to go infield at the end but in the heat of the moment you don’t think of those things.

“That was hard luck for Steeno with the last kick. We shouldn’t have put him in that position, we should have kicked on in the first half and got a good lead.”

Tui accepted it was his side’s unforced errors that let them down against the Cherry & Whites last weekend. After creating several opportunities, the home players let them go begging by sloppy handling or indecision.

And 29-year-old Tui said Gloucester were too good a side to let Exeter get away with that.

“There were a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes from us,” he said. “We won some good ball but it was slow at the breakdown and that kicked on to handling errors and playing in the wrong areas of the field. When you’re against a quality side like Gloucester, with all of the names they’ve got, they’ll punish you.”

Exeter’s trip to Sixways a week on Saturday has been given extra significance with Worcester’s 17-12 win at Newcastle on Sunday.

That success, the Warriors’ first in the league for more than a year, has given them a faint hope of avoiding the drop to the Championship. They are now nine points adrift of the Falcons, with 20 points to play for.

Tui knows Dean Ryan’s men will target a win from their match against the Chiefs, but added that the visitors would have their own motivation for trying to secure a win.

“They’ve got a glimmer of hope so they’ll be clinging to everything, but it’s the same for us,” he said. “We’ve got to win these last four games and try to get in the top six.

“We can’t worry about anything else, just think about ourselves in the last four games and get as many points as we can.”

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Dave B

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