Exeter Chief's Kai Horstmann pleased with belated victory
Exeter Chiefs forward Kai Horstmann believes his side can return to Aviva Premiership action with confidence after leading them to their first win since mid-December.
The Devon club ended a six-game run without a win by beating Northampton Saints in the LV= Cup last Saturday.
It was their first success in any competition since they beat Scarlets in the Heineken Cup on December 15.
Horstmann, who arrived at Sandy Park from Worcester Warriors in the summer, has been unavailable for the majority of the season with a hamstring problem. However, he was delighted to captain the side to victory on his home debut at the weekend.
"I'm made up, really," said Horstmann. "We talked all week about playing with intensity, commitment and energy – the boys brought it.
"I absolutely loved it. The crowd were unbelievable and it is so exciting to be a part of it. What a fantastic place to play rugby. I know it is a cliché, but they are a 16th man – it is absolutely bang on.
"The goal all week was to get a victory and that was what we did."
No.8 Horstmann played the full 80 minutes in both Chiefs' recent LV= Cup games against Bath and Saints.
There were notable improvements from the previous week's defeat at the Recreation Ground, but there is also still much to work on, according to Horstmann.
"We kept turning up for our ball carries, we kept turning up for the big collisions and it paid off," he said.
"We have still got a lot to improve upon. Last week, we got ourselves into good positions but just couldn't finish them, but we banged in three tries in the first half against Saints. It just showed it was a big focus for us this week."
Horstmann hopes Chiefs' win in the Cup will set them up for a winning return to Premiership rugby this week. The Devon side take on Sale Sharks at Salford City Stadium on Friday.
"It was just about getting a victory at home and we just want to get a bit of momentum going into the next few weeks," he said.
"We have had a bit of a break from the Premiership and the boys are itching to get back into it.
"[Head coach] Rob Baxter and the rest of the coaches are giving us opportunities and it is a big platform to play a bit of rugby in front of a mega crowd at Sandy Park. A lot of guys threw their names into the mix against Saints with some outstanding performances.
"Hopefully, he will have some difficult decisions to make this week."
Wing Watisoni Votu was another man making his home debut on Saturday and Horstmann was impressed with the Fijian's try-scoring display.
Horstmann said: "Your heart skips a beat whenever that guy gets the ball, you always know he is going to break at least the first few tackles. He is a fantastic talent."