Rob Baxter hoping to settle selection decisions after Glasgow clash
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter hopes his side’s final pre-season friendly against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday(3pm) will make his first Premiership selection an easier task.
The Chiefs host Heineken Cup rivals Glasgow at Sandy Park this afternoon, with their top-flight opener against Northampton Saints next weekend firmly in mind.
Chiefs have progressed well in their two summer friendlies against Scarlets and Bristol but Baxter intends to give his first XV a longer run-out against the Warriors as they attempt to fine-tune their game ahead of their trip to Franklin’s Gardens.
Baxter said: “We have been pleased with huge parts of our game in pre-season. The attacking part of it and our attacking intent was pleasing against Bristol and the way we found space and moved the ball.
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“Defensively, there were a lot of good things as well, although we shipped a very soft try at the end.
“There are some little technical details we have to pin down for the start of the Premiership season – we want our line-out delivery to be a little bit better as well as some of our decision-making.
“We have worked on those and we will be challenged a bit more by Glasgow, so those elements will have to stand up under pressure but that is the whole point.
“We want a tough game because that is the only way to prepare for the Premiership.
“We have had a good training week and there has been a little bit more intensity about the place. Although we are going to have a squad of 30 players, we are probably going to run a group of players a bit longer than we have done in the other games.
“At the end of the game, we want to have had a good performance and also some idea of what the team will be going into the Northampton game.”
Exeter Chiefs played Glasgow in a friendly last summer, winning 15-6 in Ayr. Baxter said it turned out to be a crucial game in the build-up to last term.
He said: “Last year was a perfect game for us in pre-season. We went there in quite a tough away situation, travelling to a different ground than we expected, and we did some incredible things travelling on the day and having injuries in the warm-up.
“It looked like everything that went wrong did so, but then we put in a fantastically solid performance with a great attitude and probably should have won by more.
“It was a really important game and laid down some foundations for the what we want to be about, attitude-wise. That will be important again this week, we know Glasgow are a good side.
“They put in a good performance against Harlequins last weekend and they are looking to be a better side this year. It is going to be a really good challenge for us and one that I’m really looking forward to.
“We’re expecting it to be the biggest challenge of our three pre-season games and it is very important for us ahead of the start of the Premiership season at Northampton.”
Exeter Chiefs: Arscott; Vainikolo, Dollman, Shoemark, Whitten; Steenson, Thomas; Sturgess, Yeandle, Rimmer; Mumm (capt), Welch; White, Johnson, Ewers. Replacements (from): Moon, Whitehead, Brown, Hayes, Graham, Scaysbrook, Horstmann, Phillips, Chudley, Lewis, Slade, Sweeney, James, Hill, Jess.