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Gareth Steenson insists Exeter Chiefs will show no mercy to wounded Leicester Tigers

‘We will go hell for leather every time’: Gareth Steenson insists Exeter will show no mercy to wounded Leicester Tigers as they look to cement another Premiership home semi-final

  • The Chiefs look set to book themselves a fourth consecutive playoff match
  • If they win at Leicester and Gloucester fail to beat Northampton on Sunday
  • The Chiefs are the model of consistent success while the Tigers are scrapping

Exeter will show no mercy to the wounded Leicester Tigers as they look to secure yet another Premiership home semi-final on Saturday.

The Chiefs, who play their 200th top-flight match at Welford Road, have only been in the league since 2010 but look set to book themselves a fourth consecutive playoff match at Sandy Park.

If they win at Leicester and Gloucester fail to beat Northampton on Sunday, Exeter will host a semi-final again come May.

Fly-half Gareth Steenson, who helped Exeter win the title in 2017, says there will be no let up

Fly-half Gareth Steenson, who helped Exeter win the title in 2017, says there will be no let up

Fly-half Gareth Steenson, who helped Exeter win the title in 2017, says there will be no let up 

And the man who kicked them up from the Championship to winning the Premiership title in 2017, fly-half Gareth Steenson, says there will be no let up.

‘We will go hell for leather every time,’ said the 34-year-old.

‘There isn’t a lot of rugby left so we want to maximise it as much as we can.

‘We don’t want to look back and see that we’ve let things slip.

‘There’s a lot of pressure on both sides. We’re looking to nail down a home semi-final, and they’re fighting for their lives. No doubt it’ll be a real tasty one.

‘It’s a tough team to go and play away against and we want to test ourselves in tough environments. This is another one.’

When Exeter came up nine years ago they wanted to imitate Leicester. Now the teams’ fortunes have reversed – the Chiefs are the model of consistent success, Tigers scrapping at the bottom.

‘They are such a big club, from what they have achieved in Premiership and European rugby, so this is a top side in a bit of a different place,’ added Steenson.

‘They are in a re-building phase. It was a team we definitely talked about emulating. We’ve haven’t got the history they have, in terms of trophies and all that, so have a long way to go if we want to be classed alongside them.’

Steenson, who misses today’s game with a calf injury picked up in the warm-up to the Bath win a fortnight ago, is one of the ‘Originals’ along with prop Ben Moon and full-back Phil Dollman who played for Exeter in the second tier.

And he fondly remembers the 22-10 victory over Gloucester, where he kicked 17 of the points to start Chiefs’ Premiership journey back in September 2010, 199 matches ago.

Exeter will show no mercy to Leicester as they look to secure a Premiership home semi-final

Exeter will show no mercy to Leicester as they look to secure a Premiership home semi-final

Exeter will show no mercy to Leicester as they look to secure a Premiership home semi-final

‘It was very hot and sunny,’ Steenson said.

‘Their fly-half Nicky Robinson missed a few kicks that day, but that meant we were giving lots of penalties away. It could have been quite a close game.

‘Mark Foster scored the first try, a good well-worked move, and there was huge excitement when he scored. It gave us confidence.

‘We had a game-plan back then that was very simple and attritional – to go after teams with our pack, so to score with our backs was quite a big thing!

‘Luckily enough I knocked over a few kicks that kept us at arm’s length. It was a bad day for Nicky, but a good one for me.

‘We never let the Premiership bog us down, we would get excited about every single game. It was a good journey for us all. Ultimately all we did was win a league game. Yes it was a derby and all that but it was more a realisation that we were good enough.

‘I genuinely thought we would never get relegated. We were always going to be a tough team to beat at home, we knew that. It was a really exciting time.

‘Now at the top of the league, having won the Premiership, played in the last three finals, it just feels that’s the way it was meant to go.’

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