Declan Kidney has previewed Saturday’s clash against Exeter Chiefs in Round 14 of the Gallagher Premiership at the Brentford Community Stadium (kick-off 3pm).

Although the Exiles managed to pick up their first win of the 2021/22 campaign in the reverse fixture at Sandy Park, Kidney believes that this weekend’s match will provide a whole new set of challenges.

“It was a great win for us because before that match, we hadn’t picked up a win yet in the league,” he explained.

“We had been knocking on the door of a win, but we hadn’t quite got the result we wanted. Whilst we did get the win at Sandy Park earlier in the season, we know that we have now poked the bear.

“Exeter will come fully loaded this weekend and they seem to have got their mojo back in recent weeks. We are expecting a lot of ball in play, and it will be a tough task to deal with them. They have the experience of playing in big matches, and that’s what this weekend’s game is.”

Rob Baxter’s side are always tough opponents, no matter what competition you come up against them in. Arguably, this is down to their attention to detail and match preparation, something that Kidney is aware of.

“They will have looked at the match at Sandy Park and worked out ways to nullify the areas which worked well for us on that day. You’d be foolish to think that you might get away with the same tactics against the same opposition twice in a season.

“That’s the intriguing aspect of coaching, to be able to come up with different angles and ways to win matches. Even an experienced team like Exeter will change their tactics week-to-week.”                             

Exeter’s past two Gallagher Premiership fixtures have been tight contents, picking up a 19-13 win against Bristol, followed by a narrow two-point loss to Harlequins. Kidney believes that Exeter are back to the form that they have shown in previous seasons.

“Over the past three or four weeks, they have started to get their consistency back. Even in last week’s match against Montpellier, they still managed to score four tries, which is never an easy thing to do when travelling to France.”

This Saturday is set to be one of the biggest crowds that the Exiles have hosted in West London since their move from the Madejski Stadium, something that Kidney is looking forward to.

“I know I’m biased, but the Brentford Community Stadium is a smashing venue. The commercial team have worked wonders to build the crowds. We lost some momentum due to cancelled games, but I know we have a good crowd coming in to watch us this weekend. It’s now up to us to give the supporters something to be proud of.”

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