‘We’re preparing for full blooded game’ – Baxter

Date published: August 26 2016

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Rob Baxter says his Exeter Chiefs side must ready themselves for a 'full blooded' encounter in their final pre-season friendly against the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday.

Having warmed up with home wins over Scarlets and Ulster, Baxter is hoping this final engagement will serve as the perfect warm-up for his players ahead of their Premiership opener at Wasps on Sunday week.

And unlike the two previous games, the Chiefs will travel with a more refined playing squad – similar to that of a normal match-day – to help in their preparations for the trip to the Ricoh Arena.

"We will look at Friday more like an 80-minute game … A lot of the guys will extend their game time and we’ll take an extended bench, but that will be more precautionary so that nobody gets over extended," Baxter told the Exeter Chiefs website

"I’m expecting the guys who play to go out, put markers down and show they want to be the players who want to feature at Wasps. The guys not involved have been told the team that goes to Newport is not set in stone.

"It’s an opportunity for those guys to cement their places within the squad, but on the negative side there is an awful lot of opportunity for them to get it wrong and lose their way.

"That’s why this is a very important game, as will training next week, and it will be up to all of the guys to get us ready for the start of the Premiership."

The Chiefs, however, have impressed so far during pre-season and Baxter is hoping for more of the same from those in action in the Principality.

"A lot of what we’ve done has been very good and we’ve been impressed with a lot of what the guys have done," added Baxter.

"Now, though, it’s a case of stepping it up another level and getting ourselves ready for the start of the season.

"We’ve built pre-season around having some home fixtures and then finishing with a tough away trip to Newport. We have been there before and we’ve never had an easy game there.

"I’ve no doubt it will be a full blooded encounter because like us they are revving up for an important game of their own against Ulster next week."

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