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Aviva Premiership: Exeter Chiefs prepare in style for cup semi-final
t was a huge credit to the boys after all the work that they put in this week and transferring that to the pitch. Keeping your line intact, when you are under pressure - as we have been for the past few months - is a great achievement.
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Exeter forwards coach Rob Hunter reckons the Chiefs' 18-0 victory over London Irish is the perfect springboard for next Sunday's LV= Cup semi-final clash at Bath.
The Sandy Park game was the first time the Exiles have not scored in the Premiership this season.
Hunter said: "It was the perfect tonic although it wasn't the perfect game and we have stuff to work on.
"But to keep another Premiership side to zero is a pretty good achievement because it doesn't happen very often.
"It was a huge credit to the boys after all the work that they put in this week and transferring that to the pitch.
"Keeping your line intact, when you are under pressure - as we have been for the past few months - is a great achievement.
"What we have to get better at is dealing with pressure. There is an expectation that we are a young side that has a lot to learn - we are an evolving club - but we have performed quite well in the past few months but the odd mistake has undone us.
"If you hide behind those odd little things - whether it be mistakes or decisions not going your way - you miss the point. There are a lot of things that we can control and that is what we should focus on, then we get better as a team.
"Don't worry about the pressure - we want that pressure - we want to be in the semi-finals next week and we want to be pushing hard to be in the top half of the league table."
He continued: "Our defensive discipline was good and that makes it difficult for the opposition.
"There is no doubt we want to beat Bath next weekend - there is every reason to beat them after the last couple of games - because there is a final here at Sandy Park up for grabs. It will be a massive game for us."
London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith commented: "We took a bit of gamble through the Amlin Challenge Cup and LV= Cup matches because we really wanted to make a dent in this block of four Premiership matches.
"We got a good start but I thought we may run out of juice with a small squad but it was really important that we hit those first two games with everything we had. We have come away with nine points out of these four matches.
"It is a sort of 'pass mark' but it is not what we wanted as we felt that we were a team capable of coming away with 15 points so we are disappointed.
"Take nothing away from Exeter, they outplayed us in the tackle area and managed the conditions very well.
"It was probably a game too far for us. I've asked the same boys to go in to battle for the last eight weeks essentially but in some areas of the squad we are wafer-thin at the moment."
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|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com