Chiefs aware of Leeds threat in Premiership

Exeter Chiefs winger Mark Foster insists he is having to play at the top of his game every week just to ensure he remains part of Rob Baxter’s first team plans.


The 27-year-old back has been an ever-present for the Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership Rugby so far this season – and he heads the try-scoring charts with four touchdowns.


This Saturday, the former Gloucester speedster will be hoping to add to that tally, whilst at the same time sink winless Leeds Carnegie at Sandy Park (3pm).


Foster is well aware the fixture is crucial to both clubs. “It’s a massive game,” he said. “We’ve been trying to build slowly throughout the season, trying to improve things gradually week in, week out.


“Our last league game was at Saracens and we felt we performed fairly well there, but we’ve gone away and tightened things up and had a good game at Cardiff on Friday night. We’re looking forward to hitting the ground running and really having a go at Leeds.”


Leeds, however, will be no pushovers and Foster knows that the Yorkshiremen cannot be underestimated, even though they have yet to register a league success so far this term.


“I wouldn’t like to guess what Leeds are doing, we can only concentrate on our game and how we want to approach it,” added Foster. “They’re a wounded animal and they’re already saying they’ve got nothing to lose. We’re concentrating on our own game, we know what their threats are.


“Unfortunately they’re missing Steve Thompson and Hendre Fourie this weekend, they’re both playing for England, but I want to play a full-strength Leeds side and get a good performance in. But like every game we’ve done our research, we’ve identified the areas we want to attack and we’ll go out with a really specific game plan of how we can beat Leeds.


“The guys want to produce a performance that not only they can be proud of, but also for the supporters to be proud of,” he said. “The support has been amazing over the past month, in fact all season. They want to see committed rugby, 15 guys on the pitch and eight more on the bench who are willing to put their bodies on their line and die for the cause here at Exeter.”


Back after a two-week interlude for LV= Cup games against London Wasps and Cardiff Blues, head coach Baxter admitted earlier this week that selection for Saturday’s game would be “tough” after most of the first team squad featured in those games.


Although Foster watched on as the Chiefs saw off Wasps 29-9 on home soil, he did feature in last weekend’s 23-23 draw with the Blues.


Commenting on that display, he said: “In the first half up there we were really solid, we made some really good decisions and the guys played fantastically well considering the really poor conditions. As a result and our performance in the second half we were disappointed to draw. That said, we’ve taken the good points from it and tried to eradicate the flaws and the bad points. We’ve moving on and progressing.”


For Foster, though, just featuring for the Chiefs on a weekly basis is his number one priority.


“I’m playing in a fantastic back line at the moment, it’s really competitive, and I’m having to play my best week in, week out to keep my place in the starting line-up,” he said.


“To produce a top quality Premiership club you have to have that competition and we’re lucky enough to have some really high quality players, not just in the back three but in the centre and at 10.


“The new arrivals, Ignacio Mieres and Jason Shoemark have been fantastic since they came in, they’ve really stepped up the level in training and brought new ideas. On a personal level I’m happy but I want to keep progressing and hopefully keep scoring tries.”

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