Cup win pleases Pellow
By Mark Stevens
Ricky Pellow praised a dominant display from his Exeter Chiefs side as they made it back-to-back wins in this season’s Anglo-Welsh Cup with Sunday’s 40-0 triumph at the Scarlets.
Having opened their account with a 43-28 success over Northampton Saints seven days earlier, the Chiefs were somewhat critical of their defensive showing in the aftermath of that fixture and demanded a response of sorts in the Principality.
Whatever was done on the training field, it certainly paid dividends as not only did last season’s beaten finalists deny the Welsh region any reward of their own, but they produced a powerful showing that yielded six tries in the process.
Shaun Malton, James Freeman and Tom Hendrickson all grabbed a try piece, but it was the collective forwards unit that brought about the other scores, winning three penalty tries to put the Chiefs top of the pile in Pool Two with a perfect ten points in the bag.
“We talked in the week about matching the energy we showed in attack to that of defence,” said Pellow. “Fair play to Scarlets, they worked hard and stood in front of us for long periods, so we had to work incredibly hard to get clarity in the game. However, once we got dominance in the set-piece, that was when we were able to start to build a lead and pull away from them.
“To get a bonus point win away in Wales is always very pleasing and it’s ensured we’ve had a great start to this opening block of games in the Anglo-Welsh.
“Defensively, we outstanding today and it was a marked improvement on last week. We knew our attack was in good shape, but we needed to address certain areas of our defence. Today, I think we did that very well and we’ve come away with five valuable points.”
Such is the make-up of the Anglo-Welsh Cup that you don’t actually find yourself in the same pool as those sides that you tackle and Pellow knows his side’s victory at the Parc Y Scarlets was vital, especially given Sale Sharks and Harlequins (also in Pool 2) have also won both of their opening two games in the competition.
“We were under a bit of pressure, especially with Sale and Harlequins both winning again,” added Pellow. “So that means in our pool alone there are three teams undefeated, so to keep getting wins and bonus points – and not conceding any points today – it could have a big influence come the end stage.”
As well as seeing his side emerge victorious, the sight of both Luke Cowan-Dickie and Dave Ewers returning to competitive action for the first time in months was another welcome boost for the travelling Devonians.
“The past fortnight has been great in terms of getting some of the long-term injured guys back,” said Pellow. “Last week we had the likes of Devo and Hilly (Ollie Devoto and Sam Hill) come back in and today we’ve had Luke and Dave get some much-needed game minutes under their belts.
“For Dave especially, him coming on so early in the game was probably the best thing that could have happened for him, just because he didn’t have any time to really worry about his injury. Instead, he just came on and did what we know he can do. He carried well, he cleared out and his physicality was there from the outset.
“With Luke, you know he’s going to bring a lot of energy to things. He did that today and it’s great that he’s back out there and playing again.”