Matt Jess looks ahead as Exeter Chiefs gather pace
Exeter Chiefs wing Matt Jess says his side will look past any thoughts of revenge when they travel to Franklin’s Gardens this weekend to face Northampton Saints.
The Chiefs lost out to the Saints in their final home game of the Aviva Premiership season in 2011-12.
It was a result that all but ended their hopes of a top-four finish and a chance to compete in the play-offs.
Now, although Jess feels that memories of their 18-15 loss at Sandy Park will be a motivating factor this Sunday, the Chiefs see this season as a fresh beginning with new objectives.
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He said: “Our last game of the season against them at home for that top-four spot will still be in the back of our minds, but it is a different season and we are looking for different things.
“Northampton away on a Sunday is going to be a really tough game. They have got a lot of quality players, but we have to make it just about us. Hopefully we can go up there and attack the game.”
The Chiefs’ attacking potency was certainly evident in their opening-day victory over Sale Sharks last weekend.
Jess, who scored two tries in a 43-6 win at Sandy Park, said the performance was down to the hard work done in pre-season games against Connacht, Cornish Pirates and Glasgow Warriors.
He said: “It is a really good start to the season. Ever since pre-season started, all the boys have put a lot of effort in and have prepared well.
“Ever since the Connacht game, which didn’t go our way, we have given ourselves a really good build-up to this game and we made progress against Pirates and against Glasgow.
“We went out there against Sale and attacked from minute one. We tried to play in the right areas and adjusted slightly in the second half and negated them to six points, but racked up a few tries ourselves.
“We didn’t try and play from stupid areas. In the first half, we wanted to play in their half and we tried to build on that in the second half.
“We did earn the right to play with all of our hard work and turnover, and were able to run at the gaps.”
And, while Jess was delighted to score his first tries of the season, he was keen to praise his team-mates’ work in the build-up.
He said: “I just stayed out on my wing and hoped for the ball. It came at the right time and I was there to put it over the whitewash. It is the winger’s job to get over the try line, but there is a lot of hard work from all the boys to get to that part. It is very much about one to 15 with us. I’m proud of the boys and their efforts, and hopefully we can build on this.
“We were really pleased with the scoreline but there is still a bit to work on. I don’t think we went back into the changing room thinking we are now a complete side, there is still a lot of hard work and tough games to come.
“We want to push on and make ourselves a better team. We have a full week’s training now to put some errors right, and hopefully we can go up there and get the four or five points we are looking for.”