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Nowell relishing Aviva Premiership Rugby return with Exeter Chiefs

Winger Jack Nowell admits a win against Bristol Rugby this weekend would mean Exeter Chiefs can cross their first task of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season off the to-do list.

Should Rob Baxter’s secure a bonus-point victory over their West Country rivals on Saturday, they will secure their spot in the top four and book a coveted semi-final clash with three rounds of the league season still to go.

That would keep their hopes alive of a second successive Aviva Premiership Rugby final appearance, and Nowell conceded the desire for redemption – after they were defeated by Saracens in last year’s showcase – still burns within the Chiefs’ ranks.

“We’ve wanted to get ourselves up into that top four again since the end of last season, so to be able to do it with three games to go is pretty special for us,” he said.

“But this game is going to be tough for us, Bristol have got it all to play for so they’re going to come down here not wanting to roll over, but to have a proper game of rugby.

“It would be massive to get to another final. We got so close to the win in the final last year, but our first half let us down a bit.

“In the second half we played extremely well and showed what we’ve been doing all season, so obviously to get a chance to try and do it again is massive.

“First things first is securing the top four, and then the next thing is getting a home semi-final space.

“It’s like Rob says all the time, we get ourselves in this position and it’s only ourselves that can let ourselves down now, and we’ve worked too hard to get here to do that now.”

Nowell once again impressed for England during the RBS 6 Nations, featuring in all five matches as the Red Rose claimed the Championship for a second straight year.

Returning from injury, the lightning winger only started two matches this term, but impressed as one of Eddie Jones’ ‘finishers’.

And despite being a crowd favourite at Sandy Park, Nowell knows he will have to earn his place back in Rob Baxter’s ranks.

“No-one really just slots back into any Aviva Premiership Rugby side after international duty anymore, given how well everyone is playing,” he said.

“But it’s great to be back involved. It’s Exeter Chiefs that I play for, and it’s the big games that everyone wants to be involved in, especially from here on in.

“My season as a whole I have been happy with. I had a few injuries at the start but it was a massive thing for me to get back into the Six Nations squad, which I really wanted to do.

“Unfortunately I didn’t play as many minutes as I maybe would have wanted, but that is just the nature of it.

“Eddie goes into every game and wants specific things, so whether you’re a started or a finisher, it was good to be involved.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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