Tribute South West break allows local rugby club fans to focus on Exeter Chiefs

Torbay Weekly

Exeter Chiefs are seldom better than when they have their backs to the wall, and pressures on and off the pitch may have helped to kickstart their Premiership season - a 27-23 win at Wasps is the latest evidence of 'normal service' being resumed.

After defeats in their first two matches, plus criticism of their brand and those 'headdress' favours which clearly rankled, a bit of siege mentality has coincided with three successive victories and a surge up to fourth place.

A weekend's break in the Tribute South West season allowed local club fans to focus on the Chiefs, and they were rewarded by trademark display which saw them come from behind to win at Coventry's Ricoh Stadium.

Henry Slade, who also kicked seven points, Alex Cordero, Sam Simmonds and the match-winner from Jonny Hill outscored Wasps four tries to two, topped by some typically committed defending in the last ten minutes.

Wasps coach Lee Blackett was 'pretty gutted' after his side's effort went unrewarded, while Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher said: "We went into a bit of a safe mode - that lost us big games last year. Mentally, we've got to nail that bit down.

"But second half, we kept at it and, when we got our chances late on, we were clinical."

England 'calls' may intrude, but London Irish at Sandy Park this Saturday is a chance to keep the revival going.

The SW campaign also resumes, led off by Exmouth-v-Brixham - it doubles as a Premier Division and Devon Cup match.

Brixham gave their best performance of the season in a one-score defeat to unbeaten leaders Exeter University a fortnight ago, so they will fancy their chances at the Imperial Rec'.

Newton Abbot did play last Saturday, and lost 18-19 at home to Truro in Western Counties West.

They now welcome Bideford to Rackerhayes, while second-placed Teignmouth are at home to Tiverton and Paignton entertain leaders Wadebridge Camels.

Cornwall and Devon promotion chasers Torquay Athletic travel to Saltash, while Devon One fixtures include: New Cross (Kingsteignton) v Dartmouth, Exeter Saracens v Totnes and OPMs v Buckfastleigh Ramblers.