Exeter Chiefs’ stand-in skipper James Scaysbrook says the club’s ever-improving squad hold the key to a strong finish in their historic 2012-13 season.
The Chiefs completed back-to-back victories over Scarlets to record their first successes in the Heineken Cup over the past two weekends.
Their 30-20 victory at Sandy Park last Saturday was achieved despite making six changes to the line-up which overcame the Welsh side at Llanelli’s Parc y Scarlets the previous week.
Scaysbrook, who captained Chiefs in the absence of regular skipper Tom Hayes, said: “Now we’re involved in the Heineken Cup the squad becomes more and more important and you have to use everyone.
“We have got a good strong squad now and it is building up all the time. It is going to be vital come the end of the year.”
Making team changes can impact results and performances, but Chiefs maintained their usual mental toughness to see off Scarlets in difficult conditions at Sandy Park.
“We knew it was going to be a tough old game and it certainly was,” said Scaysbrook. “I’m really pleased we managed to come away with the win.
“We definitely started well and that was a big focus for us. We lost our way a little bit through the middle and thankfully we managed to grind out the win towards the end.
“It didn’t seem to flow as well as some of the other games have done – the conditions definitely did not help.
“Scarlets are a top-quality team with a lot of experienced internationals and we couldn’t ask for much more moving forward. It was a very tough match and we all felt it after the game.”
Indeed, it took a rare try from Scaysbrook himself in the final minutes to make the game safe.
He said: “It was my first try since the Championship years, so I was really pleased to get over. That hole in their defence was so big, anyone could have run through it though.”
Chiefs now face a testing run of Aviva Premiership fixtures before the Heineken Cup resumes in January.
They travel to Gloucester this weekend before two home games against Bath and Northampton Saints.
Scaysbrook said: “It is important to keep the momentum going through the different competitions. We have some tough games over Christmas and the next few weeks so we will do all we can to maintain that form.
“We have had some tough battles with Gloucester and I think this week will be no different.
“Our focus over the last two weeks has just been to put in two really good performances and maintain our momentum. We hoped those good performances would lead to results and whatever comes after that we’ll take.
“Momentum is important. We have had two big victories over the last two weeks against Scarlets and it has really lifted the entire squad.”