Fixtures - Top Bar

Proud Gareth Steenson reflects on bittersweet day for Exeter Chiefs

GarethSteensonExeSarFinal1516SB1005

Exeter Chiefs captain Gareth Steenson insists his side can be immensely proud of their Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign despite falling to Saracens in Saturday’s final at Twickenham.

The Chiefs slipped to a 23-6 half-time deficit in their maiden Aviva Premiership Rugby final, with Sarries crossing through Duncan Taylor and Chris Wyles, while Steenson himself kicked two penalties before the break.

But Jack Yeandle and England’s Jack Nowell scored in a second-half fightback for Rob Baxter’s side, narrowing the gap to just three points.

And while Alex Goode’s late try secured Saracens a 28-20 win and trophy double following their European Cup success, Steenson admitted it was an afternoon of mixed emotions

“It will probably take a few days to really sit down and reflect on it and from where we’ve come we can feel very proud of the achievements,” said Steenson.

“But when you get that close, the overriding feeling is disappointment because we’ve probably missed out on 30 minutes of the game.

“Whether that was us trying to get up to speed with the game I’m not sure because the physicality was there, we had the game-plan in place, but Saracens ran the ball at us very well and squeezed us.”

A club in the fourth tier of rugby as recently as 20 years ago, Exeter reached Aviva Premiership Rugby for the first time in 2010, while this campaign bettered all previous achievements, overcoming Wasps 34-23 in the semi-finals to reach Twickenham.

And despite their 17-point deficit going into the break, the Chiefs led an impressive second-half comeback with an all-changed front row, firstly crossing through Yeandle’s rolling-maul try.

With the crowd behind them, Nowell touched down in the corner following good work from Henry Slade with just seven minutes remaining. But Goode’s try prevented a grandstand finish, giving Saracens a third Aviva Premiership Rugby title and Exeter a heart-breaking finish to a scintillating season.

“We came out in the second half and got more territory, showed people the side that we are, clawed back to get within three points,” Steenson continued.

“It was disappointing not to be able to squeeze them in the last few minutes but that just shows the quality side that Saracens are.

“The atmosphere was incredible, it’s great to hear the Tomahawk Chop going even as we were arriving.

“That’s fantastic for us all, you could feel the buzz as we started to get momentum in that second half and you could feel the crowd pushing us through. We fed off it really well and it was just a little disappointing we couldn’t finish it off in the end.

“The support that we have in Devon is incredible, it’s just a shame that we couldn’t finish it off. The fans were all behind us and we’re really appreciative of that.”
 

Latest News

Premiership Rugby backs Newcastle’s bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup Finals

Premiership Rugby today confirmed its “100% support” for Newcastle’s bid to become host city for European club rugby union's showpiece…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Newcastle launches bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup finals

Newcastle is bidding to become the host city for European club rugby union's showpiece weekend in May 2018. The aim…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Aviva Premiership Rugby wrap: Round 10

Maro Itoje could not mark his return to a Saracens jersey with a victory – but his director of rugby…

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Pat Lam confirmed as Bristol Rugby head coach

Bristol Rugby is delighted to announce the appointment of Pat Lam as the Club’s new Head Coach. The 48 year-old…

Pat Lam

Newcastle Falcons v Saracens kick-off time change

Premiership Rugby can confirm that the kick-off time for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 17 Newcastle Falcons v Saracens fixture…

Aviva Premiership ball

Match Reaction: Worcester Warriors 12 Wasps 26

Wasps maintained the pressure on Aviva Premiership Rugby leaders Saracens with success over Worcester Warriors – a victory Dai Young…

Rob Miller deputised in sterling fashion (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 38 Harlequins 32

Dean Richards’ Newcastle Falcons side are evolving according to the director of rugby, after he saw his side run in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 38 Harlequins 32

Newcastle Falcons ran in six tries in a thriller of a game at Kingston Park with Juan Pablo Socino starring…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Report: Worcester Warriors 12 Wasps 26

Wasps moved to within one point of the Aviva Premiership Rugby summit but missed out on a bonus point in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Reaction: Gloucester Rugby 26 Bristol Rugby 18

Director of rugby David Humphreys believes Gloucester Rugby showed their battling qualities as they went through the gears in the…

henrypurdyglobri16sb1111