Slade Looking To Kick On
1st October 2014
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With three victories from four starts already this season, Slade was again at the heart of Exeter's latest success story as he helped himself to a maiden Premiership try and two penalties in the Devon club's 36-13 win over Harlequins at Sandy Park.


Alongside fellow young gun Sam Hill in the Exeter midfield, the 21-year-old back has enjoyed a stellar start to the 2014/15 campaign, producing a string of impressive on-field displays that have had the pundits purring with a host of compliments.


However, Slade knows it's very much early doors in terms of the grand plan and says it's imperative that Rob Baxter's men continue to dig deep in their pursuit of further points in English rugby's top flight.


"We obviously went into this first block of games trying to get as many points as possible," said the Plymouth-born playmaker. "Right now we're doing well and hopefully we can continue that over the next few weeks. We've got Newcastle this week and we know they are a dangerous team, who can pose you a real threat. They've got some big lads in their squad, so we'll have to front up physically again."


The Chiefs have demonstrated, though, they are willing to mix it with anyone and Slade says the desire within the playing ranks to succeed is there for all to see. He cites Sunday's success over Harlequins as an example of just how hard the team are willing to push themselves in a bid to secure wins.


"We are going to a dark place, knowing it's hurting them more than it's hurting us," he explained. "We're all willing to give everything out on the pitch and it encourages the boys to keep working hard for one another. As I said, we're getting the results for that effort and long may it continue."


Having initially been introduced to the ways of the Premiership last term by head coach Baxter, Slade - and a number of the club's other highly-rated youngsters - are clearly relishing from the exposure given to them by their leader, who knows they will only improve the more they are put into the heat of battle.


"Last year was very important for a number of us," added Slade, who recently penned a new three-year deal with the Chiefs. "To get the game time we did really helped to bring us on. Exeter is a perfect club for a young player. You are given your chance but you are not thrown straight into the deep end. You are phased in gradually and it helps develop your confidence. I had no hesitation in agreeing to stay here for another three years. It is a pleasure to be part of things, but I know I still have it all to do.”


Such is the maturity of Slade - one of five Exeter players who helped England's Under-20s to lift the Junior World Championship in 2013 - that already he recognises the bigger picture evolving around him and the Chiefs.


And part of that process is ensuring the Chiefs look to back up performances on a weekly basis. Certainly that was the case at the weekend as Harlequins were dispatched with aplomb, whilst Gloucester were turned over on their own Kingsholm turf the week previous.


"The Gloucester result would have counted for nothing had we not won against Quins," said Slade. "When you win, especially on the road, it's vital to back it up. We've talked about trying to make here [Sandy Park] a bit of a fortress, so if teams are going to come here, they have got to really hurt and work hard to get any points out of us."

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Dave B

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