Cuthbert wary of Warriors threat
By Mark Stevens
Alex Cuthbert insists the table-topping Exeter Chiefs will be taking nothing for granted ahead of today’s Round 17 clash with Worcester Warriors at Sandy Park (3pm).
Rob Baxter’s side have posted three victories from as many games since the top-flight resumed earlier this month – and they will be looking to make it a clean sweep for August against the visiting Midlanders.
One man looking to help lead the charge for the Chiefs will be Wales and British Lions winger Cuthbert, who marked his first return to action in the win at Sale Sharks, having been sidelined with a serious shoulder injury sustained in the Heineken Champions Cup win against La Rochelle.
The 30-year-old will line-up in a Chiefs side that shows 15 changes from that which took to the field against Bristol Bears on Tuesday night. He starts in an all British Lions back three, which also comprises Stuart Hogg and Jack Nowell, the latter of whom is making his first appearance since pre-lockdown.
Despite the powerful look to the home starting XV, Cuthbert insists there is a steely focus amongst the home ranks as they prepare to tackle a Warriors side, who come into the game on the back of an impressive 29-14 home win against Harlequins.
“Worcester look hungry and they were 29-0 up at half time in their match against Harlequins,” said Cuthbert. “They looked good in defence off the line and they have got some key players like (Francois) Hougaard and (Duncan) Weir who like to run the game for them.
“It will be a tough game for us, so we need to make sure we do our basics and our set-piece well. We need to get off the line and not give them any time, just like they won’t give us any time. For us, we just need to get our game set in stone.”
With lockdown providing Cuthbert ample time to get his shoulder back to 100%, the Chiefs flyer says he’s looking to make up for lost time as the Devon club look to attack the remainder of the season.
Going into this weekend’s action, the Chiefs had an 11-point lead at the top of the Premiership – and looming large on the horizon is next months’ Champions Cup quarter-final against Northampton Saints.
Cuthbert, like many at the club, can picture a double-pronged assault for glory this season, but he acknowledges this can only be done by putting in the hard yards now and until the end of the campaign.
“Without being arrogant it's what we've talked about and it's what we've had on our minds for a long period of time," said Cuthbert. "Last year didn't go to plan in terms of the way we were in Europe and losing the (Premiership) final to Saracens, but we're using all that to drive us forward.
“At the moment we're taking it game by game, but in the back of our minds that's our end goal.”