TOP BAR - Fixtures

Yeandle confident of another landmark Exeter Chiefs season

Jack Yeandle is adamant that Exeter Chiefs can reach the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals for the first time in their history this season after bolstering their ranks with quality over the summer.

The Chiefs’ rise has captured the hearts of neutrals following their promotion from the Championship in 2010 – and they so nearly made the top four last season before it slipped out of reach on the final day.

But as well as retaining the core of their squad, the Chiefs have added Geoff Parling and Julian Salvi – instrumental in many of Leicester Tigers’ recent trophy-winning campaigns – both of whom will do much to make up for Dean Mumm’s departure back to Australia.

And Yeandle said: “We can do it against the big teams, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be in the
playoffs – we beat Saracens home and away last season.

“It’s definitely possible, it’s just up to us and our performances, as to whether we can get that far, and then once you get there, it’s cup rugby: anything can happen.

“The wealth of experience Geoff and Julian bring with them, and having that ability to make the right decision at the right time in a pressure situation is certainly going to aid our performances on the pitch.

“They’ve been performing in the Aviva Premiership at a high level for a while now so they’ll help us fill in those gaps and maintain our high performance levels in games that aren’t necessarily top of the table clashes.

“They’re both guys with experience of making winning a habit.”

Aviva Premiership Rugby does not return to until the weekend of October 16 due to the World Cup, but Chiefs fans can whet their appetite at the West Country Challenge Cup.

Rivalries will be renewed as the Chiefs clash with Gloucester Rugby, Bath Rugby home and away, and Yeandle believes it’s the perfect chance for the raucous Sandy Park crowd to warm up for the long season ahead.

“It’s an old cliché about making it hard for teams to come to your place but once you do get a few wins there, teams do start to get wary, and I think it also makes a difference playing in front of your family and friends,” added the hooker, whose side will first play Gloucester at home on September 5.

“It’s up to each individual person what motivates them, but the team focus is the main thing.

“Sometime we’ll go on away trips and we’ll be drowned out with noise but at home that noise is all for us. So it’s a combination of factors I suppose, but the crowd definitely help.”

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