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Muldowney delighted as Chiefs thrive

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 26, 2012

Exeter's Aly Muldowney is excited at the prospect of the Chiefs' run of fixtures picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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Exeter Chiefs lock Aly Muldowney admitted the players were delighted to get a very tough month of fixtures off to a fine start with victory over Saracens last Sunday.

A set of games against Sarries last weekend, Leicester Tigers this Saturday, Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins the following weekend, and back-to-back Heineken Cup fixtures against European champions Leinster and French giants Clermont Auvergne is an incredible prospect for members of the Exeter squad.

It might have been a bit overwhelming after going into it off the back of a 25-24 defeat at Premiership newcomers London Welsh the previous Sunday, but Muldowney said the key to success was not getting too down after the loss.

"It was a big game for us against Saracens because we wanted to bounce back from the disappointment against London Welsh," explained Muldowney, who came on against Saracens as a 60th-minute replacement for James Hanks.

"We had a good training week and we had a game plan that we stuck to for the full 80 minutes, and we knew, if we did that, we would get the result we wanted and needed.

"We are not even into October yet, so there was no reason to panic after the defeat at London Welsh. It is just one game. We can't take any credit away from Welsh and their performance. Their first two games were against Leicester and Harlequins, and then they proved again by winning away at Sale last Friday that they are a Premiership team.

"It is going to be a tough month or so for us, but the biggest thing on Sunday was not so much the result, but the fact we stuck to the game-plan during the game and we didn't panic," added Muldowney, who is set to feature prominently again against Leicester on Saturday after the Chiefs picked up yet more injuries during the past week.

Back-five forward James Phillips was carried off against Saracens with a leg injury, while No.8 Richard Baxter also took a knock. Full-back Jack Nowell was also ruled out of the match with an Achilles tendon injury picked up in training last week.

Tight-head prop Craig Mitchell (ruptured bicep) and wing Josh Tatupu (broken ankle) are long-term absentees, while prop Hoani Tui and flanker Tom Johnson are also out. "We have got injuries appearing everywhere at the moment," head coach Rob Baxter said.

"Someone asked me last week if we were going to rotate the squad, and we are, through the injuries we are picking up. But we are doing OK with it. The guys that are coming in are slotting in well and doing good jobs for us."

The citing of the Chiefs' James Hanks for "making contact with the eye or eye area" of Saracens' Steve Borthwick last Sunday has been dismissed.

At a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing in Bristol last night, panel chairman Judge Jeff Blackett and panel members Nick Dark and Mike Curling decided that the contact was accidental and dismissed the citing. Hanks will thus escape a suspension.

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