There is no added pressure on Exeter Chiefs ahead of this weekend’s clash with Saracens, despite the side sitting top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby pile, according to Luke Cowan-Dickie.
With only five rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby to go, the Chiefs are two points clear of Saracens in second place, and Cowan-Dickie insists all is calm in the camp as they approach the business end of the season.
The 22-year-old hooker has just returned to the Chiefs after being part of the England squad who were crowned Six Nations and Grand Slam winners, and feels there is a good vibe around the club.
Exeter leapfrogged Saracens to take top spot after last weekend’s 20-12 win against Northampton Saints, but Cowan-Dickie believes the team are relaxed and not feeling the pressure in their hunt for a home semi-final berth.
“We have always been striving for top four this season and we have been doing well in Aviva Premiership Rugby the last couple of years,” he said.
“Being top all the boys are happy and I don’t think there is any extra pressure on us. I don’t think anyone has thought about it we just go out and play our game and try not to worry about it too much.
“It is a first versus second clash but every game now this season is going to be one hell of a big game.”
Clashes between the Chiefs and Sarries are always notoriously tight, with each of their last three meetings being decided by four or less points.
And the England international is expecting more of the same this weekend as Saracens welcome Exeter to Allianz Park looking to reclaim top spot – a position they have held for the majority of the season.
He said: “It is always a big game against Saracens; it was last year and the year before that, and where we are in the table reflects how big the game is for us. Now it is a first versus second.
“We know it will be a tough game, they have a lot of energy and a good kick chase. It is going to be a good game this weekend.
“We have been training hard the last couple of days and we are looking fresh so hopefully we can go out there and perform to our best.”
Cowan-Dickie has three England appearances to his name, and at just 22-years-old he knows time is on his side as he looks to become a fixture in Eddie Jones’ England set-up.
He said: “There is the summer tour usually, hopefully I can play well here at Chiefs and maybe get on to that.
“I’m 22 now so I have a bit more time left and hopefully I can perform well week in, week out at club level and get noticed again.”
If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May, tickets are still available from premiershiprugby.com/final.