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Preview: Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Chiefs have been focussing on themselves rather than their opposition ahead of their first ever European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final, according to Jack Nowell.

The Chiefs head to the Ricoh Arena on Saturday to take on Wasps but have spent this week concentrating on their own game rather than trying to counter the threat of their Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final rivals.

The winner will face another domestic clash as they earn the right to face the winner of Northampton Saints against Saracens in the final four.

Last year Exeter were knocked out in the semi-final of the European Challenge Cup but have never experienced such success in Europe’s premier competition, while Wasps have two European crowns to their name.

Nowell said: “I know everybody says it, but this is what we have been working towards all season, this is the big one and nothing is going to change about that.

“We are not looking to finals or semi finals we are just looking to this weekend and it is the most important one, there is no point looking past it.

“I think it will be a classic, the big thing for us is to put our game on them and put our defence on them and we need to do things to make them cope.

“We need to put them in pressure moments. All week this week we have been focussing on ourselves so that is what we will keep focussing on.

“Players like myself will be looking at the boys who have been in the situation before, some of the players have been in pretty big finals so to be able to look up to those boys who have been in the situation before is comforting for me and some of the others.”

The game at the Ricoh is set to be a blockbuster encounter, with the Chiefs having won the Aviva Premiership Rugby fixture between the sides on the same ground earlier this season.

Wasps have kicked on since then, and now sit just two points behind Saturday’s opponents. In Europe they have been just as impressive, with wins over giants Toulon and Leinster, and loosehead Matt Mullan is looking forward to a huge game in Coventry.

“It’s a massive game, maybe the biggest since we moved to the Ricoh as a European knock-out,” said Mullan.

“They are an unbelievable team and we know having already played them once this season.

“That day they were about 20 points better than us so we have to show that we have improved since then.

“They really targeted us with their driving maul that day so we know that will be a threat. I think we’ve been ok in that area recently though against teams like Northampton and Leicester.”

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