LV= Cup crucial to a bright Exeter Chiefs future, says coach Pellow
Exeter Chiefs coach Ricky Pellow says the LV= Cup is crucial to the club’s future development.
The Devon club proved their squad’s strength in depth last weekend when a much-changed side earned a 42-15 Cup victory over London Welsh.
Many of the Chiefs’ fringe players, young and older, took their chance to impress and Pellow has now challenged his men to confirm their form against Ospreys at Sandy Park tomorrow.
He said: “Going up to London Welsh last week was a real challenge for them. They put in a good performance and now we have to back that up. The squad are really excited about this weekend.
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“Playing at home in front of an Exeter Chiefs home crowd is always going to be good for the young guys and the senior players as well.
“It has been an exciting week but we know we have back last week’s performance up with another good one this weekend.”
The Chiefs’ second string, the Braves, won the A League competition last season, so the side’s potency last weekend was of little surprise to Pellow.
He said: “I was not surprised about last week’s result at all. We have a really good environment here for the young and senior guys to flourish. We told them all to go out and attack the game. Whatever side gets put out in front of us, in the Premiership, Heineken Cup or LV= Cup, we want to attack it.
“It showed in the performances of Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Henry Slade.
“They mixed in with the senior guys and we had a good balance. We knew we could put in a good performance.
“They will all want to put their hands up for selection in the weeks ahead. As coaches, we’ve talked all week to them about being in contention for selection for the trip to London Irish.
“If you look at when we went up to London Welsh, we went up with a young squad and Welsh put out a strong side. Ospreys have got the same type of squad as us – mixture of young and older.
“They are coming here to Sandy Park, which is an intimidating place to come and play.”
RaboDirect Pro 12 side Ospreys also made a winning start to their LV= Cup campaign. They beat Gloucester 33-27 last weekend.
“They are going to be strong, they have a good set piece, they like their pick-and-go game,” said Pellow. “Their nine and ten are guys who can control the game and we’ve got to combat that.”
Most Premiership sides use the LV= Cup to give their first XV a rest, allowing their younger players, and those returning from injuries, an opportunity. But, rather than treating the competition with contempt, Pellow says the Cup is crucial to the clubs’ development.
He said: “If you look at all the clubs, your Leicesters and Gloucesters – all the top sides – they look at it as a great competition to get some players game-time and also to breed an environment for those younger guys to come through and play.
“For us a club, you could say it is not the Heineken Cup or the Premiership but it is a massive tool to help us with our squad and the development of our players.”