Beating the Aviva Premiership Rugby champions suggests all is well at Exeter Chiefs but back-row Kai Horstmann admits that from experience, the bubble can burst within a week.
Few teams this year have been as impressive as Rob Baxter’s Chiefs, winning five of their first seven Aviva Premiership Rugby games and getting off to a near-perfect start in the LV= Cup.
And no result has encapsulated that performance quite as well as last weekend’s performance against Northampton Saints as Luke Cowan-Dickie and a Thomas Waldrom double had Franklin’s Gardens dazed by half time.
However, less than two months ago the Chiefs secured an emphatic victory over Harlequins before falling to Newcastle Falcons – who consequently ended their 20-game Aviva Premiership Rugby losing streak.
And with Wasps at Sandy Park next up on the agenda, Horstmann insists that dreaming of the play-offs will only lead to slip-ups down the road.
“Sometimes after you have a big victory, sub-consciously you maybe take your foot off the gas a bit,” he said.
“But this week we keep readdressing that we’re in the right frame of mind and physicality to take on that game.
“If you make yourself aware of what level you need to get to, we should be in the right state on Saturday.
“Top four is not out of the question, but we certainly don’t focus on that as we don’t want to get carried away with where we are.
“We’re taking it bit by bit and if at the end of the season we get our rewards, happy days.
“I think it’s excited (the mood), we’re pleased with where we are and it shows the hard work we’re doing is paying off.
“Now we’ve got to make sure we keep kicking on and know what put us in that position in the first place, a lot of focus. The key is to put the graft in and carry on doing what we’re doing.”
And if any team should know how tight the margins are in Aviva Premiership Rugby it is the Chiefs, who lost games to Gloucester Rugby, Harlequins and Saints by one point last season.
Horstmann added: “Putting in performances for 80 minutes has certainly been a focus this season. We lost quite a few close games last year and if games do get into an arm wrestle, we want to be finishing them off.
“It’s having the discipline to stick to the script and follow through what we’ve been working on all week.
“When the pressure is on it’s about not panicking and sticking to our systems because there is a highly-pressurised environment in the Premiership.”
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