Lachie Turner believes there is no reason Exeter Chiefs can't go on to even greater things in 2018 having wrapped up last year in style with a bonus point victory over Leicester Tigers at Sandy Park.
The Aussie international was part and parcel of another impressive display from Rob Baxter's side, who having only led 6-3 at the break, preceded to run riot in the second half, adding tries through Don Armand, Henry Slade, Jonny Hill and Jack Yeandle.
Exeter's victory – their 10th in 12 league starts this season – not only kept the reigning champions top of the pile heading into the New Year, but ensured they remain ten points clear at the summit of the Aviva Premiership table from next-best Saracens.
“Today, kind of summed up our year as a whole,” said Turner. “We showed a lot of heart and a lot of guts out there. You would have thought at half time that the Tigers were the side in the lead, especially playing into the breeze and with the score so close, but the way the forwards stood up in the second half was outstanding.
“We talk a lot here about playing and working hard for the full 80 minutes – and what we do is make it takes something away from the opposition. I think you saw that tonight, we may have struggled a little bit in terms of accuracy in the first half, but we played with a tempo and a pace that really changed Leicester and we got the benefits at the end of the match.”
Although up against the elements in the second half, the Chiefs made light of the conditions to see off Matt O’Connor’s visitors in impressive style.
“As I said, the forward pack were amazing,” added the full-back. “We spoke at half time about what we would need to do and the coaches challenged us all to up our game. Also, the guys coming off the bench had a massive influence on the game. When you have someone like Sam Simmonds coming on and offering you that punch, it definitely lifts the rest of the squad.”
With a trip to Newcastle Falcons next on the agenda for Devon’s finest this Sunday (3pm), Turner is confident he and his team-mates can continue to flourish moving forward.
“This team just keeps stepping up,” said the 30-year-old when asked what could be achieved this current season. “Hopefully, we can go as far as we can.”
Exeter’s New Year’s Eve victory over the Tigers not only condemned their visitors to a sixth straight loss, but put the icing on what had been a memorable 12 months for the Chiefs, the highlight of which had to be their Premiership title success at Twickenham back in May.
Turner admitted it was one of a number of magic moments for the Chiefs during the course of the year.
“Obviously it’s hard to go past that day at Twickenham, it was just phenomenal,” he continued. “Equally, the home win here in the semi-final [against Saracens], Jack Nowell becoming a Lion for the first time, there were just so many moments, both individually and collectively.
“For me, personally, I’m just enjoying my time with these lads and knocking off all those little milestones along the way.”