Will Greenwood insists Exeter Chiefs’ run should be no surprise
World Cup winner Will Greenwood says Exeter Chiefs’ march to the Premiership play-offs should not be surprising
Exeter Chiefs’ march to the Premiership play-offs has been little short of astonishing this season but according to World Cup winner Will Greenwood we shouldn’t be at all surprised.
The Chiefs, who were promoted from the Championship in 2010 for the first time in their history, have been in fantastic form since the turn of the year.
Seven wins from their last eight, including a dramatic bonus-point 31-26 win at Worcester last time out, have seen the Devon outfit climb up to fourth in the Premiership table.
And the Chiefs welcome fellow play-off chasers Northampton to Sandy Park this weekend knowing that a win will secure their first ever post-season berth.
This is all a far from cry from the side that were tipped by all for an immediate return to the Championship on their promotion to the top flight last season.
And Greenwood has laid the credit squarely at the door of head coach Rob Baxter for the team spirit he has created within a squad that does not feature one England international.
“It is a very special run Exeter have been on this season. There are not many internationals in their side so they didn’t lose many and they went on a bit of a roll in 2012.
“They are a really enjoyable club to watch, they have taken everyone aback. Not just Exeter chief fans, I think everyone has been impressed.
“Their away record is ridiculous! I can’t imagine any other team winning as many away games in one season as these guys have having come up from where they are.
“You felt when they lost Sireli Naqelevuki that would have been a blow, but Rob Baxter has engineered such a wonderful spirit within the camp that they just keep coming back.
“The game against Northampton is their crunch game. If they beat Northampton on Sunday, that’s it, it’s done, it’s over. They’re in the semi-final and there is nothing Northampton can do about it, they are two points behind.”
And Greenwood admits that the Chiefs late burst for the play-offs becomes all the more remarkable when you consider that many people have been arguing against promotion from the Championship for many years.
“It goes back to the promotion and relegation issue. If we had shut this off three or four years ago then Exeter wouldn’t be here. They are a great side and I love watching them,” he added.
“They have got a great pack. James Scaysbrook, Tom Johnson and Richard Baxter are an excellent back row. Tommy Hayes leads from the front in the second row and they will have a great chance in the play-offs.”
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