Jack Yeandle says he and his Exeter Chiefs team-mates will need to “rise to the challenge” when they tackle Montpellier in Sunday’s European Champions Cup fixture.
Having kicked off their campaign with a 24-15 victory over Glasgow Warriors last Saturday, the Chiefs will now make their way across the English Channel for an equally testing assignment against the star-studded French outfit at the Altrad Stadium (2pm).
Unlike the Chiefs, Montpellier suffered defeat in their opening fixture, going down 24-17 at Leinster, but they did manage to claim an all-important losing bonus point, thanks in the main to a try double from former Exeter winger Nemani Nadolo.
Club captain Yeandle knows from past experiences that trips to France are far from easy – and that this latest match-up will follow suit, particularly given their hosts suffered defeat in Dublin last weekend.
“They’ll be your classic French team at home,” warned Yeandle. “They throw everything at us, the crowd will be going bananas, and they have a set of angry forwards who will be probably frothing at the mouth given their result last weekend. What we have to do as a side is rise to that challenge and have a real go ourselves.
“As players, these are the sort of challenges you relish and I know we’ll be looking forward to the game. We’ve put ourselves in good stead after the Glasgow result and now we need to back that up with an equally strong performance over there.”
Certainly, the reigning Aviva Premiership champions underlined their desire to prove their worth in this season’s competition by producing a gutsy and resolute display against a Warriors outfit, who arrived in Devon having won all six of their Pro 14 fixtures so far this season.
“It’s nice to get that win in the opening round,” added the all-action hooker. “In the past, we’ve tended to make it difficult for ourselves, especially in the early stages, so to get a win on the board first up is really pleasing.”
Just as pleasing for the Chiefs was the way they went about their business against the Scotsmen, recovering initially from a 10-0 deficit, before hitting them with three tries through Harry Williams, Jonny Hill and Sam Simmonds.
Yeandle continued: “Glasgow really came at us, especially in that first ten minutes, and we were a little bit rattled. We knew we hadn’t put our stamp on the game, but we had a chat under the posts, regrouped and talked about imposing ourselves on the game.
“As the half went on, so we started to do that. The forwards really got hold of the game and that in turn gave us a real platform to go forward. Overall, the performance was really good and the lads really stuck in there.
“A lot of hard work went into our defence. To a man, every one stood up and really put their bodies on the line. We knew Glasgow were going to bring lots of threats, right across the pitch, but I think we won the organisational battle, we got our defensive line set, and we kept putting in repeated sets.”
More of the same will be needed this weekend from the Chiefs against a Montpellier side, who have a glut of world class stars within their ranks such as Nadolo, Aaron Cruden, Ruan Pienaar, Joe Tomane, Bismarck du Plessis, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Louis Picamoles.
“This week be another challenge again but, as I said, it’s one we are really looking forward to,” added Yeandle. “They’ve got a big pack and real class out in the backs, but we just have to stick to our principles and go again. What we have to do is impose ourselves on them as early as we can and challenge them in the same way that we’ve challenged all the other big teams we’ve come up against in the past.
“If we can do that, then we give ourselves a great chance of getting something from the game over there.”
Member since: 5th January 2016
Hi, I am Mark Stevens, Media and Communications Manager for the Exeter Chiefs