Francis warns Saints that Exeter are ready for a fight

Exeter Chiefs scrapped their way to a 24-18 win at Saints in November (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Exeter Chiefs scrapped their way to a 24-18 win at Saints in November (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Exeter Chiefs prop Tomas Francis believes Saints will be ‘looking for a fight’ at Sandy Park on Sunday.

But he insists his side are ready for the reaction Jim Mallinder’s men will aim to produce after last Saturday’s sobering defeat at Clermont Auvergne.

Saints were beaten 37-5 in their Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Marcel Michelin.

And they will be desperate to get back on track by continuing to cement their place at the Aviva Premiership summit.

But Francis, who was in the starting 15 for Exeter’s 24-18 win at Saints in November, is adamant his team are not scared of the champions.

He said: “After going to Clermont and getting a bit of a lesson, we know they’ll be coming down here absolutely firing.

“We also beat them up at Franklin’s Gardens earlier in the season, so they really will be fighting here - but that just excites us even more as a group.

“They’ll be looking for a fight and we are ready to take them on in that.

“We put our game on well when we beat them last time, we took them on at what we think their strengths are, and our fitness and everything else came together, so it just came to fruition.

“I think whoever wins the upfront battle will win the game, and if you’re scared about that there’s no point playing.

“It is what you want in rugby - to play the best and to beat them.”