Chiefs can keep it tight

  • By: Reece Killworth
  • Last Updated: December 21 2012, 16:44 GMT

Reece Killworth fancies Exeter with a seven-point start at Gloucester as he seeks a third straight winner from his rugby union tips.

Gloucester are in for a battle on Saturday
Gloucester are in for a battle on Saturday

Exeter Chiefs have played some strong old sides so far this season.

They've already pitted their wits against the top four teams in the Aviva Premiership, two of the top three in the RaboDirect PRO12 and two of the three ante-post market-leaders in the Heineken Cup.

And only twice in that tough schedule have they lost a match by more than the seven-point start they get against Gloucester on Saturday.

A three-point defeat at Northampton was matched by their effort in defeat against Leinster in the Heineken Cup while they have beaten both Saracens and Harlequins (albeit at home) in the league and Scarlets twice in Europe.

Only their Premiership trip to Leicester and their HC home game against Clermont saw them well beaten - to margins of 22 and 34 points respectively.

They've also lost at Bath by eight points, though it's worth bearing in mind that came the week after that defeat by Clermont, which itself was the second week of the first-ever Heineken Cup double-header in their history.

And they showed all of their fighting spirit, cursing missed kicks for their inability to snatch a bonus point from what could easily have been a lost cause.

Their response has been faultless - seven straight wins, three on the road.

That leaves them just a point adrift of Saturday's opponents Gloucester in the table - and the two have very similar points records in their 10 matches so far, with the Cherry and Whites 255-208 and the Chiefs 257-203.

Gloucester are traditionally strong at home - they're unbeaten at Kingsholm since the opening day - but in the league they've only beaten rock-bottom Sale by more than the seven points they must overcome on the handicap this weekend.

With bad weather forecast, I can see this one turning into a gritty, attritional battle with few points scored so Exeter +7 looks a shade on the high side.

  • Preview posted at 1635 GMT on 21/12/2012.