25th March 2016
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The Devonians will head to Allianz Park in buoyant mood having leapfrogged the defending champions into top spot following their 20-12 victory at home to Northampton Saints last Sunday. 

That success, coupled with Sarries going down at Leicester Tigers the same day, meant Rob Baxter’s side moved to the summit of the table for the first time this season. 

And with just a handful of top flight games remaining in the scheduled season, Moon knows it’s a crucial period for everyone as the battle for play-off placings looks set to go to the wire. 

“Saturday’s a huge game for us,” said the 26-year-old forward. “As always we try and look at it as just another game because if we get too caught up in the emotion of things, that’s often when you come unstuck. 

“We know Saracens are a very good team and that have guys in the England team for a reason. They also have a number of other great players, but they are a team we have played against many times in the past and we’ve come up with some good wins against them, so there is no reason we can’t do it again.” 

Having spent his entire senior career with the Chiefs, Moon has already pocketed a number of personal milestones during his time with the club. Tomorrow, however, he will be looking to add yet another as he prepares to line-up for his 100th Premiership appearance. 

Should he take to the turf in London, the Tiverton-born player will become only the fourth Chief to achieve the feat, following the lead taken by Matt Jess, Gareth Steenson and, more recently, Phil Dollman.

 As ever Moon is distinctly humble when it comes to talking up such an achievement, saying: “As time has gone on the games have got tougher and the competitions have got bigger, but as a player this is what you relish being involved in. Back in the Championship days you would play in front of a couple thousand people, now it’s anything between 10,000 and 20,000 people, so it’s a great place to be and what a lot of players strive for.” 

A key cog in the Chiefs wheel for a number of years, Moon - like many at Sandy Park - has adapted with time and his impressive displays have seen him forge himself as one of Baxter’s tried and trusted first team stars. 

“Again this season has been brilliant,” he added. “We got off to a really good start and we’ve just kicked on from there. Being part of that core group who have been able to play week in, week out has been fantastic. However, boys have been putting their hands up in training and in other games, so it’s tough and you know you have to work hard.”

 Grit and determination, though, are key facets of Moon’s game and it’s a reason behind why he has featured so prominently for his local club.

“A lot of our core values are about working hard for each other,” explained Moon. “Also, it’s a lot about the enjoyment of playing alongside one another. I enjoy playing with my team-mates, new and old. It’s good to see fresh faces come in now and then, but it’s still nice that we still have a number of that original group still here. 

“That first year in the Premiership I was more of a bench player, but the likes of Sturge, Steeno and Dolly they were in there evert week, putting their bodies on the line. They just kept going and going. 

“Everyone wrote us off that first season, they all expected us to go down, but we came up and we picked up some good wins. That first home win against Gloucester was huge for us. It was a big local derby, they were the established Premiership team, so to roll them over so early was just brilliant.” 

And in the years that have followed, Moon has been part of a Chiefs squad that have continued to grow in confidence, a fact underlined by their current lofty status. 

That said, there is still plenty to do this season and it all continues tomorrow when they face the champions on their own turf.  

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Dave B

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