Bath defeat leaves Exeter Chiefs looking over their shoulders and adds pressure to Warriors' visit
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes losing to Bath last weekend has put more pressure on his side to make sure they pick up a victory at home to Worcester Warriors on Saturday.
The Chiefs' 23-15 defeat at the Recreation Ground saw Bath go above their Westcountry rivals in the Aviva Premiership, and leave the Devon side in eighth spot.
A loss to Worcester would send the Chiefs below the Warriors, who are one point behind them, and see them cast one or two nervous glances towards the bottom of the table, where Sale Sharks are rooted on only two points.
"Defeat at Bath means next Saturday becomes a really big game for us and we have got to dust ourselves down and get a real enthusiasm to get after the game," said Baxter.
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"It will be tough. Worcester are a good side, and they are moving forward, but we have got it in us to beat anybody. Last Saturday showed that, if you are not right on the money, you can get hurt.
"You don't win many games if you don't go for it for the full 80 minutes, and I genuinely don't think we did.
"We played OK against a Bath side who are a top-half-of-the-Premiership side, so we are doing all right, but we need to learn a valuable lesson from Saturday. I want us to go to places like Bath and go for it from the first minute, but we seemed to go there and be quite edgy, and the reality is we shouldn't be. You don't win things by being edgy.
"At half-time we were ten points down but we went on to nearly win the game. I'm frustrated, but at the same time anybody who watched it won't say Exeter didn't put in a decent performance."
Exeter had two very tight games against the Warriors last season, winning 15-9 at Sandy Park in early December in a match that was all penalty kicks, before triumphing 31-26 in a thriller at Sixways in April, courtesy of two tries in the last two minutes.
That was the last occasion Exeter won a competitive match away from home.
Warriors, who are likely to include former Exeter players Josh Matavesi and John Andress in their match-day squad, will be buoyed by their 23-16 home win over Sale last Friday – their second Premiership victory of the campaign.
Last Saturday's match marked a return to Exeter colours for Argentina winger Gonzalo Camacho, making his first Chiefs appearance of the season after his involvement with the Pumas in the new Four Nations Championship.
It will only be a brief return for Camacho as he has been included in the Argentina squad for their autumn internationals against Wales (November 10), France (November 17) and Ireland (November 24). He did not have a very good first half, missing two tackles in the lead-up to Bath's opening try through Ben Williams, but he impressed in the second period with several line breaks. "I think Gonzalo needed the first 40 minutes to get back into it," said Baxter.
"For the first 15 minutes, he was all over the shop. I don't think I have ever seen him miss so many tackles, and be flying around all over the place. You do need to get back in the saddle and get playing again, so he will be better for Saturday's performance."
Sale's response to their poor start to the season was revealed last night, when their director of rugby Bryan Redpath was taken out of the firing line. The Sharks stated that the former Gloucester head coach had not been dismissed, but former England forwards coach John Mitchell is expected to take charge of team affairs at the club.