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Baxter demands strong performance

Exeter have been urged to start from where they left off against Aviva Premiership champions Leicester in Sunday's west country derby appointment with Gloucester.

Although the Chiefs went down 21-9 last weekend, a much improved second-half display from being 15 points down at the break encouraged head coach Rob Baxter.

"Wrapping up the whole 80 minutes last week, it wasn't too bad a performance," Baxter said, ahead of the trip to Kingsholm.

"We finished strongly last week. If you ever choose things, you want your performances to finish strongly, so that has to be the basis from which we start the game at Gloucester.

"The result is not always everything, but the way we decide to play certainly is.

"If we decide to go up there and play, fire some shots and put in a level of performance that we can be pleased with, then anything else than happens will happen and you just roll along with things.

"On reflection, I was disappointed with the first half we produced last week, but we have to look at the bigger picture and how we made some changes during the game that ultimately gave us a much improved performance in the second half.

"It should be a great test up at Kingsholm. Games between ourselves and Gloucester are normally a great game of rugby and there is not often too much between us."

Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies, meanwhile, is satisfied his squad is up and running this season after starting the Premiership campaign with successive defeats.

Losses to Sale Sharks and Saracens put Gloucester on the back foot, but their response has been impressive, defeating Northampton in a Kingsholm thriller before winning at Newcastle last time out.

"We have sort of weathered the early storm in terms of performance and results," Davies said.

"We've got a little bit of momentum now and players returning back to fitness, so it's a good position to be in.

"It should be a cracking match on Sunday. If you go off the back of our last match against them down there, which was probably one of the matches of the season, you can expect something similar as both sides like to play rugby."

Ex-Newcastle captain James Hudson makes his Premiership debut as one of six changes from the side that won at Kingston Park six days ago. Props Yann Thomas and Rupert Harden both gain call-ups, with full-back Martyn Thomas, centre Mike Tindall and scrum-half Tavis Knoyle also featuring.

Former Gloucester scrum-half Dave Lewis will make his first start for Exeter since he joined the Chiefs earlier this year. Lewis replaces Haydn Thomas, while three other changes following the Leicester defeat see starts for wing Matt Jess, hooker Chris Whitehead and flanker Ben White.


From Belfast Telegraph