Exeter extend travel horizons to 'go for it' in Challenge Cup

Exeter coach Rob Baxter has his sights set on an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place, admitting his players are "going to go for it".

The Chiefs host struggling French side Bourgoin tonight, when victory would set up a probable Pool Three decider in France against Montpellier next weekend.

European success would continue Exeter's outstanding debut season as a Premiership club, having already beaten league opponents Gloucester, Saracens, Newcastle, Sale Sharks and Leeds Carnegie this term.

"A quarter-final could potentially be a very big game," Baxter said yesterday. "The most important thing is to be able to go to Montpellier with something to play for. To travel abroad with a real reason to play will be fantastic.

"We are in a good frame of mind as a team and we're relatively injury-free, so we are going to go for it. It is definitely more intense now, and the players understand that, but ambitious players want to play in big games."

Bourgoin, who this week appointed former the France international Laurent Seigne as their new coach after poor results on the domestic and European stages, currently prop up the group.

But Baxter added: "There is no distinct pattern to the way they play. They are very much a 'heads-up' rugby side, and that is their danger. We could get hit with something we are not prepared for.

"That said, we feel we've trained well and we are mentally shifting in the right direction with regards to reacting to different scenarios. A team that is going to do the unexpected is what we need to hone ourselves to that mental state, where you don't get caught for length-of-the-field tries like we did at Gloucester last weekend."

Harlequins travel to meet Italians Cavalieri today, when a bonus point win would make it mission accomplished and herald a Pool One decider against Bayonne at the Twickenham Stoop next Saturday.

Quins are currently one point behind the French club, who host Connacht tomorrow, and have named a strong line-up to visit the 6,500-capacity Stadio Lungobisenzio.

Wing Ugo Monye will make his 150th Quins appearance in a side that also includes his fellow England international Danny Care. The flanker Will Skinner is captain.

Gloucester's hopes of progressing from Pool Five suffered a huge blow after La Rochelle beat Agen on Thursday night, leaving the West Country club knowing that bonus point victories over Rovigo and Agen in their last two games will probably not be enough.

They should complete the first part of that task in Rovigo tomorrow, but La Rochelle only need to beat the Italians at home next week and a quarter-final place will be secured. Peter Buxton will captain Gloucester in a much-changed team from the one that beat Exeter six days ago, with the England centre Mike Tindall among those rested. "We have got a job to do and we've got to get five points in Rovigo," said the Gloucester head coach, Bryan Redpath. "It is about physicality and it is about the basics and execution – it's as simple as that."

Leeds Carnegie are also hanging on in Pool Four, but they need to beat the French heavyweights Stade Français in Paris tomorrow or face elimination. The backs Michael Stephenson and Lachlan MacKay are put of action through injury, but a powerful Leeds pack includes England forwards Steve Thompson and Hendre Fourie under the captaincy of lock Marco Wentzel.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower