Aviva Premiership: No regrets over Exeter’s season – Bentley
Chris Bentley insists there are no regrets over Exeter's season after losing 18-15 to Northampton Saints delivering a blow to the Chiefs' play-off hopes
Exeter’s hopes of a first-ever Aviva Premiership play-off place took a big blow with an 18-15 defeat to Northampton but retiring lock Chris Bentley insists they can have no regrets over their performances this season.
The surprise package in the league this season, the Chiefs had put themselves in a great position to book a semi-final spot and a shot at the Twickenham final on 26 May when they led 10-3 at half-time in the clash at Sandy Park.
However with Saints fighting back with tries from Chris Ashton and Paul Diggin, Exeter are now relying on Worcester to do them a favour when they head to Franklin’s Gardens next weekend.
But Bentley, who will move behind the scenes at Sandy Park when he hangs up his boots at the end of the year, has not forgotten how far the Chiefs have come since their promotion to the top flight.
“I’m one of the longest-serving players here so I can still remember three years ago when we played in front of 500 people up at Otley,” said Bentley.
“There was some frustration in the squad after the game against Saints, it was very tight but that is probably that for the play-offs.
“In a way though it could be a good thing for the club. You learn a lot more from your mistakes than you do from winning and this will certainly keep us grounded.
“When Bristol had that great season a few years ago it went wrong afterwards so we need to be careful.”
At 6ft6 and more than 18st Bentley will leave a big hole in the Chiefs squad next season.
However they were this week able to announce the signing of Australian international Dean Mumm as his replacement, which Bentley admits he has taken as quite a compliment.
“A lot of people have talked about the strength of the squad being our team spirit rather than having a lot of individuals,” he added.
“That is something we certainly want to continue, but it’s great to see someone like Dean Mumm coming in.
“It’s quite nice for me, I’m stepping down and they have brought him in as a replacement.
“We know we also have a lot of players coming through the academy who will be part of the first team squad soon. You only need to look at the England age group teams to see that.”
If you buy a ticket for this year’s Aviva Premiership Final on 26 May you will receive a free rugby shirt. Go to www.premiershiprugby.com/freeshirt to buy yours.