The pressure will be on Exeter Chiefs this weekend, but don’t expect the away side to fold at the Madjeski…
One of the most exciting and unpredictable sides in the Premiership, travel away to London Irish this weekend, as the Exeter Chiefs look to stamp their authority on the race for the play-offs.
The away side currently sit in sixth place and have once again surprised many rugby fans this season with their performances. They are now an established side that are taken very seriously and struggling London Irish will be fully aware of the challenge facing them on Sunday.
However, the home side will feel that this is one of few games this season that they are capable of winning. The fact they are at the Madjeski Stadium for this match may also lift their hopes, with their first home win of the season coming a couple of weeks ago against London Welsh.
London Irish are already in a position where they don’t really have anything other than pride to play for this season. With no hope of catching the top four and rivals London Welsh almost resigned to relegation, Irish can now go into every game with nothing to fear.
The attacking flair and dynamic backline of the Chiefs should prove too much to handle for the home side though this week, who on paper are worlds apart from their opponents. Exeter currently have the second best away record in the league, winning half of their matches on the road, scoring an impressive 150 points in the process.
In Gareth Steenson they also have statistically the best fly-half in the league, with an 85% success rate from the tee this season. If he manages to perform to his usual high standards then London Irish will have to remain extremely disciplined, something they have failed to do on a regular basis so far.
Whilst this game should be closer than the league table suggests, the odds are still very much in favour with the away side, who ought to add to their excellent start to the season by producing another away victory.
Expect plenty of entertaining rugby from the Chiefs, whose true class and clinical finishing will eventually prove to be the difference.