exeter chiefs rygby logoExeter head coach Rob Baxter says he is looking forward to his side's pre-season programme after the Chiefs today confirmed their three warm-up fixtures ahead of the 2011-2012 Aviva Premiership season.

The top Devon club will kick-off their programme with a trip to Irish Magners League outfit Connacht on Saturday August 13 (1500) before travelling to Championship side Cornish Pirates on Saturday August 20 (1700).

Exeter's final test will then take place at Sandy Park on Saturday August 27 (1500) when they play host to more opposition from the Magners League in the form of Llanelli Scarlets.

It is - according to Baxter - not only an entertaining set of fixtures, but also a set which is sure to fully test his Exeter squad, which will include a number of new faces for the 2011/12 campaign.

"I think we have got a good set of pre-season games," said Baxter, who guided the Chiefs to eighth place in their maiden season in English rugby's top flight last term. "We are starting relatively early in August with what will be a very tough game over in Ireland, but as last year showed us we really benefitted from the games we played against Magners League opposition.

"Again this year we've got two games against Magners League sides, both of whom are also competing in the Heineken Cup, plus we've got what I know will be a good challenge against the Pirates at their place.

"I think going over to Ireland that early will be good for us - not only will it allow us to spend a bit of time together as a group - but at the same time it will act as good preparation for what we know will be some tough away games again this year both in the Premiership and in Europe."

Although Connacht will provide a fresh challenge for the Chiefs, Exeter's other two opponents are well known to Baxter and many of his players. Last season the Chiefs defeated the Pirates 22-14 at Sandy Park, whilst the Scarlets won at the impressive Parc Y Scarlets 24-20 a week later.

full story at Exeter Chiefs official website

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