Exeter Chiefs prop Alex Brown admitted another victory in the European Challenge Cup this weekend would be about more than just securing a home quarter-final.
Rob Baxter’s men are guaranteed a quarter-final berth after last weekend’s 33-24 win at Connacht, and another victory on Saturday over French side Bayonne would see the Chiefs contest their knock-out match at Sandy Park.
But after slipping to four consecutive defeats in the Aviva Premiership Rugby going into the European break, Brown insists getting a winning run going can only help the side in the league.
“Getting another victory this weekend will be hugely important for the club,” said the 25-year-old. “More than just getting a home quarter final, it’s about maintaining that momentum going back into the Aviva Premiership Rugby.
“Last weekend felt like a really good turning point for us to get a good victory over a tough side, and we’d like to follow that up again against Bayonne.
“That is what’s important now. Getting the quarter-final at home is more of a bonus.
“At this part of the season you want to be in cups playing in quarter-finals, semi-finals and so on. We had a taste of that last year with the LV= Cup, and hopefully this year we can build on it.
“To do that we need to go out there and take every single game as an individual contest. That’s what Rob has been telling us, it’s not about looking too far ahead at games coming up.
“This weekend could be a banana skin for us, and it would be very easy to go in there and underestimate them.
“Any French side is dangerous on their day and they have a high skill level, but at the same time we have a good game-plan sorted and hopefully we can implement that.”
Exeter had to do it the hard way against Connacht, coming from behind in the second half with 23 unanswered points needed to give them the edge in Ireland.
And Brown called on his teammates to get it right from the start next time out.
He added: “We had been targeting the scrum and wanted to work together as an eight, and we really focused on that and it paid off. That part of the game became a vital weapon for us.
“It was definitely a big second-half performance from us. We can drift off a bit sometimes in games like that, but we did the hard-work and finished it off in the second half.
“That is something we need to bring forward and put in an 80-minute performance next weekend, as there have been times this season where we have taken our foot off the pedal.
“Sometimes our focus has gone and we’ve let games slip through our fingers by a few points.
“But we’ve had a few knocks and a few losses already this season, but we know we’re a good side and we haven’t been losing games by much, so something has to change.”
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