GOOD AFTERNOON TO YOU ALL AND WELCOME BACK TO SANDY PARK FOR WHAT IS OUR LAST HOME GAME OF THE 2018/19 SEASON.
Firstly, I would like to thank-you all for your support, which once again has been simply outstanding. The backing you provide, each and every home game, certainly does makes it a very special to play. I do think the best aspect of playing here at Sandy Park is that it feels like a stadium where our supporters are living and breathing the game with us. That in itself creates an arena of real emotion, which we can all draw energy and strength from. I could spend some time congratulating the team for the season to date, but we dealt with this at our end of season dinner last week, and now we have to focus on today and the game against Northampton Saints, not what has passed previously. Today is slightly unusual in that we are playing the same opposition in a semi-final as we played last week in the last round of Gallagher Premiership. However, it is only unusual due to the fixture list and nothing else, the challenges in the game remain the same, and our focus has to be very much on ourselves and how we want to play, together with the energy we are prepared to commit to our game plan. Due to playing one another only last week, it’s meant we have had a good, recent look at each other, and although I am sure we will both have seen things we want to improve in ourselves or, attack in the opposition, actually staying focused on a few simple areas will probably bring the greatest rewards. If last week highlighted anything, it’s the reward that you get for driving yourself across the 80 minutes. There were some tough periods and we were a little disappointed to not capitalise further on an extended period of pressure just before half- time. However, we never wavered in our belief and stepped things up, both mentally and physically in the second half, to drive home the win.
The best thing about being involved in games like today are that the rewards are also right in front of you. No longer are we collecting points for something that might be months away, now we’re playing today to win a semi-final. For me, that makes this a hugely exciting occasion and I hope you all enjoy supporting our team throughout. Finally, can I take this opportunity to once again welcome Chris Boyd, his fellow coaches, players, officials and supporters of Northampton Saints to today’s fixture.
Enjoy the game, ROB BAXTER DIRECTOR OF RUGBY EXETER RUGBY CLUB
EXETER CHIEFS VS NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
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