Exeter head coach Rob Baxter insists things are starting to “crank up” in terms of squad preparation ahead of the 2014/15 season.
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter insists things are starting to “crank up” in terms of squad preparation ahead of the new 2014/15 season.
Baxter welcomed his players back into their latest phase of pre-season on Monday having given them all a week's rest following a physically demanding opening block of training.
Now with friendlies against Cardiff Blues, Ulster and Worcester looming on the horizon, Exeter's leader has been overseeing the next phase which, he says, sees a step up in standards.
“We've done a live bit of contact this week. Although we've done a bit of pad work and a bit of static contact skills in the opening block, we haven't gone bone-on-bone before,” he said.
“We also had a bit of wrestling on the beach, but we've stepped that up to prepare them for the full-on elements that are going to come over the next couple of weeks.
“It is starting to crank up a bit and move beyond fitness and skills and looking at patterns to seeing how things work under full contact situations.”
Having added eight new signings this summer, the latest being Namibian international Chrysander Botha who arrived this past week, Baxter says he has been encouraged by the hard work shown by all his squad since their return to duty.
“The players' second round of testing started on Monday and they did some more on Tuesday and we saw a few PBs getting knocked off,” he added.
“The guys looked fresh, fit, sharp and enthusiastic on Monday, so it was a great first day back.
“We did a bit of rugby at the end on Monday, which sometimes after a break there can be a lack of sharpness with things like handling skills, but that rustiness wasn't there. It was pleasing to see how sharp and focused the players were.”