Exeter star Henry Slade says the Chiefs are well aware rivals Wasps will be out for revenge when the two sides lock horns in Sunday’s Aviva Premiership clash at Sandy Park (3pm).
In the first meeting between the two since last May’s Premiership Final at Twickenham – which the Devonians won 23-20 after extra-time – again there is little to choose between either club ahead of this round four encounter.
Last Friday’s 41-10 victory for Rob Baxter’s side at Worcester Warriors lifted the Chiefs back to the summit of the division, a spot they held onto following the weekend results, which included a home defeat for Wasps against Harlequins.
That was the Midlanders first setback at the Ricoh Arena in 20 months and their first loss of the new season, having opened up their 2017/18 campaign with victories over both Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, have recovered well to their opening day loss at Gloucester, having recorded maximum points in their last two outings.
It’s that impressive form that England international Slade says the champions must continue to show, starting with this weekend’s testing assignment against one of their arch rivals.
“We’re building each week and last week was a great win, especially away from home,” said Slade. “Getting five points at any time is massive, but we knew going to Worcester would be tough. They really came at us hard, but we stuck to our game and we came good at the end.”
A brace of tries from Sam Simmonds, plus further touchdowns for Jack Nowell, Jonny Hill and Olly Woodburn sealed a perfect night for the Chiefs, whose remaining points at Sixways came courtesy of Gareth Steenson’s trusty right boot.
Like Slade, all-action No.8 Simmonds is a product of the club’s hugely successful academy set-up and the Plymouth-born playmaker has been delighted with the way his club-mate has stepped up to the plate so far this season.
“Simmo has been unreal,” added Slade. “His pace off the base of the scrum and around the park is awesome. He also has unbelievable footwork for a forward as well. Obviously, he’s had to bide his time to get a chance, but now he’s on the scene you can see what he’s all about and he’s really destroying defences.”
Both men are expected to form part of the Chiefs line-up for Sunday’s showdown, a game which Slade says he is relishing.
“Wasps will be hurting after what happened in the final,” continued Slade. “We always have good games against them. They have threats all over the park, but you can say the same about us, so it should be another decent game.
“Last week Rob put together a plan to go to Worcester, which identified their strengths and weaknesses, and we then put that into place and got the result. The aim is to do the same against Wasps.”
Member since: 5th January 2016
Hi, I am Mark Stevens, Media and Communications Manager for the Exeter Chiefs