Well done Exeter Chiefs
I very rarely watch rugby on TV, but with Exeter in two finals on consecutive weekends I watched both matches. The first was against the French club ‘Racing 92’ and was the European final. Exeter had never won this competition. The match was very exciting, Exeter racing into a 14 – 0 lead following two tries and conversions. It was all looking so easy, when Racing struck with a try and conversion of their own. Exeter scored another try just before half time, but in the second half Racing roared back with two tries to bring them within a point of Exeter. Exeter went down to 14 men after Tomas Francis was “sin binned” for 10 minutes. Somehow Exeter held on and in the dying seconds scored a penalty to make the final score 31 – 27.
The second final for the premier league title was a completely different affair. This time they were playing Wasp. This final, dominated by the weather, wind and heavy rain, meant that Exeter had to change the way they normally play to secure victory. There was only one try each, in a match which saw both sides struggle to hold on to the slippery ball. The game was won with Exeter kicking the most penalties in the match, but really it was their sheer determination not to lose that got them over the line.
Determination, perseverance and never giving up were the qualities I saw on the pitch. These are the qualities that we are going to need to get through what will be a difficult winter. St. Paul said this: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9 v 24-27.
With the help of Jesus Christ, we can come through this winter with optimism and faith. Exeter not only had determination, but also the ability to change their normal way of playing. No one likes change but it will be essential if we are to be successful at overcoming the virus.