Confidence could be the key for Chiefs

Wed, 24 May 2017 09:49
Large henry slade chiefs celebrates 800

PREMIERSHIP FINAL SPOTLIGHT: Exeter Chiefs flyhalf Henry Slade believes the confidence coursing through his side could be key to deciding Saturday's Premiership Final against Wasps.

Chiefs were beaten 20-28 in last year's showpiece at Twickenham by Saracens, but Rob Baxter's side got revenge by beating the European Champions Cup winners 18-16 at Sandy Park last Saturday.

A late Sam Simmonds try got Chiefs over the line, and Slade played his own part by finding touch with a 60-metre kick under intense pressure moments before - Chiefs scoring after securing the resulting lineout.

Chiefs will now face Dai Young's Wasps in Saturday's Final - Young's side scoring a late try of their own to knock out Leicester Tigers in a similarly thrilling 21-20 encounter at the Ricoh Arena.

Wasps are chasing a seventh title, having last won the competition at the end of the 2007/08 season when they beat Leicester Tigers 26-16.

Baxter's Chiefs side have not lost a Premiership clash since their 15-29 reverse against Harlequins on November 5. However, they fell to a defeat in another Final earlier this year, having being downed 12-16 by Leicester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup showpiece at Twickenham Stoop on March 19.

But Slade said the confidence gained from this run in the league has Chiefs believing they can take to the field confident of victory regardless of the occasion.

"You never want to be down on the scoreboard, but over the last few months… I never felt like we were going to lose a game. That is probably the confidence and the belief we have in the squad. Even when we have been down 15 to 20 points early on, we have still come back to win.

"Anything can happen in two minutes of rugby, let alone five. Every time we step onto the field, we don't contemplate losing… we have such good belief in ourselves. Every season we have been in the Premiership, we have incrementally improved and the only way for us to improve on last year is to win it," he said.

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Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 22 17 1 4 84
Exeter Chiefs 22 15 3 4 84
Saracens 22 16 1 5 77
Leicester Tigers 22 14 0 8 66
Bath 22 12 0 10 59
Harlequins 22 11 0 11 52
Northampton Saints 22 10 0 12 52
Newcastle Falcons 22 10 0 12 49
Gloucester 22 7 2 13 46
Sale Sharks 22 7 1 14 40
Worcester Warriors 22 5 2 15 33
Bristol 22 3 0 19 20