Dennis targets rapid response
By Mark Stevens
Dave Dennis says home advantage this weekend offers him and his Exeter Chiefs team-mates the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways in the Aviva Premiership.
The defending champions surrendered pole position in the standings when they slipped to a second league defeat of the season at the hands of Leicester Tigers last Saturday.
This weekend, however, the Chiefs are back on home soil and will be looking to bounce back - just as they did earlier in the season when they came unstuck at Gloucester - with a big Sandy Park performance against in-form Newcastle Falcons.
Having not lost a league game on home soil in almost a year, Rob Baxter’s side are certainly a force to be reckoned with at their Sandy Park base.
And Aussie international Dennis says it’s imperative the Chiefs use that to the full against their North East rivals.
“We love playing at Sandy Park,” he said. “Having the home crowd behind you always helps and it will be a great opportunity for us to get back on track. Obviously we’re up against a very good Newcastle side, who have started the season very well, but it’s important we dust off the disappointment of last week and look to respond with a positive result this weekend.”
Although the Chiefs did a lot right against the Tigers at Welford Road a week ago, they failed to hit the same level of performance as they did in earlier round and it was the Midlanders who grabbed the decisive points, landing the key points at key moments.
“We we’re confident going into the game,” explained Dennis. “The training week had been good, our energy level were high, but we just lost our way at crucial times in the game. We’ve got turned over a couple of times and fair play to Leicester, they scored two tries off our mistakes.At this level, you need to be on our game ever week, just because that’s how tight the competition is.
“Yes, we got a losing bonus point in the end, but we wanted more than that. As I said, it’s important we dust ourselves off now and get ready to go again against Newcastle.”
Now into his second season with the Chiefs, Dennis admits he has already seen a step up in standard this term and this has been reflected in performances and results across the board.
“Even from my first season, you can see the division is a lot tighter,” added the 31-year-old forward. “The ladder shows that and every side has lost at least a game. What it shows, however, is that to be up at the top end you need to be consistent and performing to a very high level every week. Last week we were a little bit off and it cost us, but overall we’ve being doing well and hopefully we can put in a big response this weekend.”