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Exeter Chiefs experience is crucial for Jack Yeandle

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 13, 2013

By Bill Sobey @billsobey

Exeter Chiefs' Jack Yeandle (right) is tackled by Bath's Paul James. Picture: Mat Mingo/Pinnacle

Exeter Chiefs' Jack Yeandle (right) is tackled by Bath's Paul James. Picture: Mat Mingo/Pinnacle

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Exeter Chiefs forward Jack Yeandle hopes past experience will hold his side in good stead for their Heineken Cup trip to Toulon on Saturday.

The Devon club may only be in their second season in Europe's elite club competition but they are learning fast according to hooker Yeandle.

Last season's matches against Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne were crucial to their development, while last weekend's narrow 14-9 loss to Jonny Wilkinson's men gives them belief any result is possible at Stade Felix Mayol this weekend.

Yeandle said: "At Clermont last year, the whole stadium was bouncing. I was on the bench for that game and you could feel it walking it out of the tunnel.

"There was so much noise and energy. The passion from the crowd was pretty intense.

"We just have to enjoy the environment. It is not something we get to experience away every day but the crowds at Sandy Park are pretty much the same for us.

"They may not be cheering for you but they appreciate good rugby. We just have to try and embrace it and enjoy it."

Reflecting on last weekend's performance, he added: "We just need to execute properly. We had a lot of chances against them here even though we were under the cosh a few times.

"If we finished off our chances, we could have had a few more breaks than we did. We backed up a few errors trying to exit from our 22, running with the ball and knocking on, giving away penalties.

"If passes had gone to hand, we would have been in a much better situation.

"If we can play our expansive game early on and put the pressure on them, it might keep the crowd nice and quiet. That would be nice for us and, if we can keep the scoreboard ticking over, it might keep everyone guessing."

While Yeandle and the rest of the Chiefs remained focused throughout last weekend's Sandy Park defeat, he admits there was a unique thrill to playing against players of Wilkinson's calibre.

Toulon's players had 825 international caps between them, with Chiefs' number totalling just 40.

However, Yeandle believes any sense of novelty will be gone this weekend and Exeter travel to France expecting a positive outcome.

"It doesn't affect you too much during the game, it is more the before and the after," said Yeandle. "When you come off the field you suddenly think about who you have played against. Having played against them, it will take that little bit of an edge off but it will be a special occasion.

"You see what they have coming off the bench – you see one person leaving the pitch and another world-class player trots on. It is not an easy task but you just have to keep performing.

"They are a group of superstars who rely on a bit of individual brilliance but we work hard as a unit so we'll hope to exploit those little bits of individuality to impose our game on them. We targeted a win in one of these two games and losing at home makes it difficult. But we still think it is achievable."

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