Chris Bentley: Answers to your questions – including the meaning of life
THIS week I've handed the column over to the Chiefs twitter followers and have answered a selection of the questions posted online to my twitter handle @ccbentos this week.
@shoutsloudy: 1. Of all the achievements which one do you think was the best? 2. Of all the grounds in the Prem which is your favourite and which is the worst?
Answer 1. Bit of a selfish response to kick off this Q and A; there are now so many great memories over the last few seasons but for me personally being a part of the A team that went unbeaten during my final season as a Chief will take some beating. To finish my career with the club, at home and collecting our first silverware of the Premiership era was a nice way to bow out.
Answer 2. The best ground has to be Sandy Park – the proximity of the stands to the pitch, the fact it's our club and the atmosphere when it's rammed makes it a very special ground. The worst is without a doubt the "wreck" that is Bath; Tiny changing room, all the spectators exposed to the elements and the fact we're yet to beat them there all make it bottom of my list!
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@ricey2211: What did the players think of the artificial pitch at the Allianz?
Answer: I think the jury is still out on the artificial pitch that Saracens now call home. We actually have a very similar pitch at Sandy Park that the boys train on and the guys would, on the whole, prefer grass but that is because it's what they've always played on. I think in a couple of seasons when it is less of a novelty and the injury rates are more understood there will be some genuine thoughts.
@simonsloth: What is your favourite food and drink to celebrate a Chiefs victory?
Answer:After a game the players get food delivered to the changing room from the resident caterers at Sandy Park. Invariably this is energy-dense food that is easy to palate (pizza and the like). It may not be cordon bleu but there is no better place to be than amongst the guys on the back of a home win. Although Budgie likes to shoo me out and I rarely eat anything, being in the midst of the heroes of the day is food for the soul!
@lcp74: 1. How do the players pick themselves up after a run of defeats? 2. Name any three people you'd have round for dinner.
Answer 1. The guys try not to focus on the week-by-week results but underlying themes, as such a few bad scores aren't too harmful if the effort on the pitch is there. However you'll often hear about the banter at Chiefs being some of the best players have ever known. Following on from the Marines mantra of 'cheerfulness in the face of adversity' the banter that flies about the inner sanctum ensures spirits are invariably high so picking up isn't necessary.
Answer 2. My wife Hayley, daughter Beatrice and myself! However, assuming nearest and dearest are off the list, I would like to invite Martin Bayfield, Victor Obogu and the 'shark whisperer' Ocean Ramsey. Bayfield and Obogu are giants of the game who have both made a name for themselves on the after-dinner circuit. They would make sure the evening kept a rugby-related context but was riotous nonetheless. Ocean is simply an amazing person who couples two things I find most intriguing; free-diving and sharks so would be a fantastic guest too!
@exeterpike: When there is no match for 2 weeks does the training pattern change?
Answer: Indeed it does, it usually gets tougher! Without a game to be concerned about come the end of the week, the guys are able to double up on conditioning and full contact training.
However, at the later stage of the season the management may choose to give some of the guys with a lot of pitch time a break from the club to refresh.
@the_black_otter: Given a free choice which current player (not at Chiefs) would you like to see at Sandy Park?
Answer: I would most like to see Sergio Parisse at the Chiefs. I think he would benefit from some of Richie Baxter's expertise and would be a fantastic addition to the Exeter Chiefs squad! Watching him put in another gargantuan performance for Italy on Saturday I felt that he would be a natural fit into the Chiefs culture and would bring both increased profile and another game breaker to the ranks.
(Editors note: Unfortunately we forgot to clarify that the questions we were after were of a highbrow nature and had a few comedians get in the mix!)
@AlanHubbleday: If you were an animal which animal would you be?
Answer: I think that a lot of folk would tip me as something of a donkey in my day and to be honest I'm not really one to disagree! Indeed my charity of choice has always been the Donkey Sanctuary so that I could have somewhere to go to pasture!
(Alan is the brother-in-law of former Chief Tony Yapp and assistant coach to another legend Jason Luff at Sidmouth so this was always expected!)
@steve_parrett: How does your matchday tweeter keep up such incredibly high quality output?
Answer: Steve we all know that you are indeed the matchday tweeter for the club and that your work on the day of a game is second to none, how you manage to do it is surely a question only you can answer!
@kjlamby: 1. How is life at the club without Bryan Rennie? 2. What is the meaning of life?
Answer 1. Losing the big man did come as quite a shock at first but he does pop down two or three times a season to say hello and there is still a picture of him on display in changing room 2 where he used to change every week, so it's fair to say he is gone, but not forgotten!
Answer 2. Being a philosophy graduate I could provide an entire newspaper worth on this topic but feel it probably best to defer to Douglas Adams and his novel the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when he posited the answer 42.