BATH RUGBY: Devoto alert to Chiefs’ raid

Wiltshire Times: Ollie Devoto, pictured in action during last Friday’s Aviva Premiership defeat to Saracens Ollie Devoto, pictured in action during last Friday’s Aviva Premiership defeat to Saracens

OLLIE Devoto has warned Bath to expect an even more intense examination than they have received in three previous meetings this season from Exeter Chiefs on Sunday (1pm).

As if the carrot of an appearance in the final of the LV= Cup wasn’t enough at stake this weekend, the visitors also have the mouthwatering prospect of contesting the silverware at their own Sandy Park home next weekend, if they can lower Bath’s colours.

Bath have held the whip hand over their west country rivals not only since the Chiefs first reached the Premiership in 2010 but also this season, having won all three league and cup contests so far.

But two of those matches, including last month’s league encounter on the south coast, were decided by five points or less, and Devoto knows a formidable obstacle stands between Bath and their first major final since the European Challenge Cup in 2008.

“Their (Exeter’s) motivation to win is huge with the final being at their place,’’ said the 20-year-old.

“The last two games between us have been really tight so we know we’ve got to be on top of our game.

“We know they like to hold on to the ball and will test us massively in defence so we have to get that system right, which is something we’ve worked really hard on this week.’’

Devoto scored a brilliant try in the 27-23 win at Sandy Park on February 15 and has formed a highly-effective centre partnership with Kyle Eastmond which has started the last four matches.

“I’ve been quite fortunate with injuries to a couple of players but anywhere in that front line I really enjoy playing there,’’ added the England U20 ace.

“I’m starting to learn the way he (Eastmond) likes to play the game and how I react off him.

“It’s great to play outside him because he always puts the defence in two minds.’’ Tickets are still available for Sunday’s semi-final.

Call 0844 448 1865 or see www.bathrugby.com, where details of tickets for the final at Exeter’s Sandy Park, should Bath progress, on Sunday, March 16 are also available.

Bath’s Aviva Premiership game against Worcester Warriors at the Recreation Ground has been confirmed for March 18 (3pm).

  • BATH Academy duo Will Spencer and Tom Woolstencroft have been dual registered with London Welsh and Rosslyn Park respectively.

The pair will be sent out as Bath’s coaching team ensure the youngest members of their squad get more game time.

“As a young player, it’s great for us that the club recognise we need game time to continue our development,” said Spencer.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to help the clubs we’re joining – they both have strong squads and competitive leagues, so it will be hard work but we’re looking forward to it.”

Woolstencroft and Academy colleague Tom Ellis have been included in England’s U20s side to take on their Welsh counterparts tonight (7.45pm).

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