Tom Johnson is delighted to scalp Gloucester
Exeter Chiefs flanker Tom Johnson admitted he was "over the moon" to round off the opening block of Premiership fixtures with their superb 29-12 victory at Gloucester.
The Chiefs were heavily criticised for their first-half display in their home defeat to Leicester Tigers the previous weekend, but they built on a much-improved second-half showing against the Midlanders by recording their second win at Kingsholm in three seasons.
"We are delighted," said England back row Johnson. "The team carried on from last week's second half and played without any regrets, and went for it from minute one.
"Sometimes things didn't come off, but luckily, for the majority of the time, they did. After last week, we knew what we had to do.
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"We had to make it more about us than Gloucester, and we fronted up in most areas."
Two areas of concern against Leicester was the scrum and line-out, but both of those departments functioned very well against the Cherry and Whites, and that provided the platform for the surprisingly comfortable win against a side who finished in fifth place in last season's final table.
"Leicester tend to exploit you at your weak points, and we knew we had to front up in those areas," Johnson explained.
"Welchy's [Damian Welch] line-out calling was brilliant, the front-row boys were outstanding, and the lads that came on to finish the job were also excellent.
"We kept backing each other up, which is probably something that was missing last week."
Exeter could have won by a far bigger margin, with the Premiership's top percentage goalkicker, Gareth Steenson, missing three kicks at goal and television match official Rowan Kitt denying the Chiefs two possible tries, but Johnson was happy to take the four points.
"We probably left a couple of tries out there, but winning at Kingsholm is no mean feat, and I would have taken a win by a point today. To have it wrapped up with five minutes to go though was credit to the boys," he said.
"Like every Premiership ground, you have to come and try and play. Gloucester have got such a good team, and, if you give them the ball and keep feeding them, their back line is just immense.
"We knew that, if we kept the ball, we would starve them of possession."
Exeter go into the break from Premiership action sitting in sixth place after playing three or their opening five fixtures away from home, and it is a job well done so far, but Johnson refused to get carried away.
"We are very pleased with where we are in the league, but, if we hadn't won, it would have been only two wins out of five and we could have been in the bottom two places in the table, so it is all very tight," he said.
"We will enjoy this win and then start preparing for a couple of tough Heineken Cup fixtures."
Exeter's first pool match in Europe's top club competition takes place next Sunday at Sandy Park against Cardiff Blues, whose squad contains British Lions quartet Sam Warburton, Alex Cuthbert, Leigh Halfpenny and Gethin Jenkins.
The Welshmen warmed up for their trip to Devon with their own 29-12 home victory over Edinburgh in the RaboDirect Pro12, with Cuthbert scoring two tries and Halfpenny adding 19 points with his boot.
"We always enjoy the Heineken Cup," said Johnson. "We will put the Premiership to bed for a bit, and really focus on Cardiff when we return to training on Tuesday.
"They have got a great team, so we will have to be on top of our game."