VIDEO: Exeter Chiefs dominate Bristol in pre-season friendly
EXETER CHIEFS head coach Rob Baxter still feels his side have plenty to work on in pre-season, despite a dominant 51-7 victory over Championship club Bristol.
The Chiefs, who are preparing for their fourth season in Premiership, were far too strong for their former second-tier rivals.
It was a particularly profitable afternoon at Sandy Park for England Under-20s star Henry Slade, who scored two tries, four conversions and a penalty.
Ben White, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Tom Johnson, Ian Whitten, Stuart Townsend and Tom James were also on the scoresheet for the Devon club.
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Bristol, who were defeated by Chiefs in the 2010 Championship final for their place in the top flight, mustered one consolation try late in the game through Fatua Otto.
It was a vivid demonstration of how far Chiefs have come since their previous meeting in a competitive fixture and the performance was also a tangible improvement over their opening pre-season friendly win over Scarlets.
Baxter said: “It was a totally different game from last week, conditions were a lot more conducive to seeing the ball get thrown around the pitch. That suited us.
“Huge parts of the game were pleasing, we scored over 50 points. We’re a little disappointed to have conceded a late try but other than that we looked very sound defensively, both in our organisation and desire to get tackles.
“That actually created a lot of the pressure that we scored tries from and there were parts of the day where we looked sublime attacking-wise.
“We still have some major work-ons over the next couple of weeks. The line-out was never great at any stage, our scrum was good for most of the game but we had a couple of dodgy ones that would never be able to afford in a Premiership game.
“There were also a couple of silly penalties but on the whole – you have got to look at the full picture in the 80 minutes – it was a decent performance with some good individual displays thrown in there.
“We looked dangerous on the ball and that we could score tries from anywhere when we got things right.
“Up front, Dave Ewers stood out for me, I thought he was fantastic. He carried a lot, he was big and physical – the back-row went very well today.
“It was great to see Haydn back on the pitch, it was great to Dave Lewis out there, Ceri had some game time, Henry Slade played fly-half and 12.
“Our wingers scored tries and Jack Arnott, for a young lad, stood up very well. Right across the board, I was pleased with the physicality we showed and now we have to keep pushing forward.”
Chiefs play Glasgow Warriors in their final friendly this weekend. Baxter wants his side to continue their progress to ensure they are fully prepared for their first Premiership game against Northampton Saints on September 7.
He said: “You could see things that we worked on in pre-season coming off and we want to ram those things home next week against Glasgow in a higher-level fixture.”