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Gloucester must be wary of Baxter's 'immense' Exeter transformation, warns Tindall

By Nick_Purewal  |  Posted: December 21, 2012

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ROB Baxter’s ‘immense’ Exeter transformation will make the Chiefs a formidable proposition at Kingsholm tomorrow, warns Mike Tindall.

Impressed Gloucester player-backs coach Tindall hailed Exeter boss Baxter’s measured and methodical approach in guiding the Chiefs from the Championship to Premiership mainstays.

The 34-year-old Cherry and Whites centre said those traits run right through Baxter’s team – and will cause Gloucester trouble at Kingsholm tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Tindall starts against at outside centre for the Gloucester clash that marks the halfway point of the Premiership campaign.

Cherry and Whites rugby director Nigel Davies has made just three changes to the line-up that bested London Irish 47-3 in Amlin Challenge Cup action last weekend.

Nick Wood and Shaun Knight replace Dan Murphy and Rupert Harden in the front-row, with tighthead Harden not quite recovered from neck trouble.

Ben Morgan returns at number eight, to form a thunderous loose-forward partnership with Sione Kalamafoni and Akapusi Qera.

Gearing up for tomorrow’s onslaught, Tindall said Exeter’s composed rise to top-flight prominence still drives them even now.

He explained: “I think what Rob Baxter’s done has been immense.

“He created a system he wanted to use, ushered it in and then refined it.

“And then rather than bring in new players to fit that specific method, he spent time improving the skills of the club’s existing players.

“It’s paid off big-time and that’s huge credit to him.

“Because I would imagine it’s very tempting to go out and start trying to recruit players.

“Exeter have resisted that, and they have flourished as a result.

“It’s going to be one hell of a battle, but we’re pretty excited about that.”

The Chiefs are unbeaten in seven matches across all competitions now, and Gloucester boss Davies knows this clash will rank among the most difficult of the season.

He explained: “Exeter’s physical and hard-working approach is always very tough to combat.

“So we’ve got to match that as a starter, and then take things from there.

“If we don’t provide the right work-rate and attitude, then we won’t get anywhere tomorrow.”

GLOUCESTER: R Cook, C Sharples, M Tindall, B Twelvetrees, S Monahan, F Burns, J Cowan, N Wood, D Dawidiuk, S Knight, T Savage, J Hamilton (capt), S Kalamafoni, A Qera, B Morgan. Replacements: H Edmonds, D Murphy, D Chistolini, W James, M Cox, D Robson, T Molenaar, M Thomas.

EXETER CHIEFS: L Arscott, G Camacho, P Dollman, J Shoemark, M Jess, G Steenson, H Thomas, B Sturgess, S Alcott, H Tui, A Muldowney, J Hanks, D Mumm, J Scaysbrook (capt), R Baxter. Replacements: N Clark, B Moon, C Rimmer, T Hayes, B White, K Barrett, I Mieres, I Whitten.

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  • richardpenton  |  December 27 2012, 10:13AM

    I really hope that Rupert Harden our first choice and best tight head is fit and available to play against Leicester Tigers.

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  • CurtDowne  |  December 27 2012, 9:36AM

    We need to be starting the game against Leicester with a full strength scrum and that is why we need Rupert Harden back. Let's hope hope he is fir and available because Rupert is our best and first choice tight head.

    |   5
  • RoryGlaws  |  December 24 2012, 5:19PM

    ...And far too often on Saturday, our front row was stood up in the same manner. Thank goodness for Wood and Murphy preventing our scrum from being totally annihilated. And that is why we need our best and first choice tight head, Rupert Harden, back against Tigers.

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  • JBuddy  |  December 23 2012, 9:27AM

    Yes, we need Rupert Harden playing so that we avoid the risk of seeing the embarrassing situation of a Gloucester front front row made to look like mugs as in that last scrum in the Saracens' game.

    |   7
  • Straw90  |  December 23 2012, 9:18AM

    Rupert Harden is the undisputed first choice tight head at Gloucester Rugby, unless you are some know-it-all troll like akadau/Kap721/etc. who claims to know better than the coaches at Gloucester Rugby. Remember, that's the coaches who work with the players week in, week out.

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  • Karbonn  |  December 23 2012, 9:12AM

    Harden is our top rated tight head by a huge distance.

    |   6
  • SimonGray  |  December 23 2012, 9:00AM

    Rupert Harden.... Still Gloucester Rugby's top rated tight head.

    |   6
  • mattw74  |  December 23 2012, 8:43AM

    I hope Rupert Harden is fit and available to play against Leicester Tigers next weekend in his natural position of FIRST CHOICE tight head for Gloucester Rugby. He is the best tight head, after all.

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  • fuddlebagley  |  December 23 2012, 8:29AM

    Rupert Harden is our best tight head at Gloucester Rugby and It is not just me and others on here who says that, our DoR, Nigel Davies and the coaching staff at Gloucester Rugby all know who their best tight head is and that is why they select Rupert Harden to start 9 out of 11 Premiership games this season. Now the self-proclaimed expert and ridiculous multi-troll akadau/peh45/glasteruk1/Kp721/autotroll/etc. may like to THINK they know better than the professionals at Gloucester Rugby, but they don't... FACT!

    |   6
  • chuycastillos  |  December 23 2012, 8:19AM

    Rupert Harden is the number 1 and the best tight head at Gloucester Rugby. That is why Nigel Davies selects him for the crucial games and also why he will select him to start against Leicester if he is fit.

    |   6