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Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Wasps

Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Wasps

Fly-half Gareth Steenson is hopeful he is trudging through the Twickenham mud rather than lying on golden sand next Saturday as Exeter Chiefs bid to extend their season with a semi-final victory over Wasps.

Exeter are in previously unchartered territory having become the 11th different team to reach the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals and their second-place finish ensures Sandy Park becomes the 11th venue to stage such a showpiece occasion.

But the club’s Player of the Year, and Gilbert Golden Boot winner with 234 points in 22 Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, is not ready for the season to end.

“We’ve put ourselves in a position and if we can win that game then anything is possible,” said the 32-year-old.

“This time next week we could be on our holidays, that’s something we’ve talked about this week, so we want to get it right.

“We’re focused on putting in the best performance possible and if we do that we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”

Chiefs did the double over Wasps in league encounters, though fell to defeat at the Ricoh Arena in the Champions Cup quarter-final.

But Chiefs have never lost to Wasps on home turf and Steenson is confident that record will still be intact next week.

“We’ve played them more than anyone else this year,” he added.

“We know they will come with a lot of energy and look to play. But we are quite confident with how we have been going.

“We’ve given ourselves a great opportunity by playing at Sandy Park. We’ve had a good home record there.”

Wasps are in the last four for the first time since 2008 – that year they went on to be crowned champions.

By comparison with Exeter though, they are relative seasoned-campaigners at this stage, winning four of their five previous semi-finals.

They will be up against it, trying to extend that run at a buoyant Sandy Park, but Charles Piatau has called upon his team-mates to embrace the occasion.

“I get motivated and enjoy it when I hear crowds cheering on their side and singing songs,” he said.

“It sounds funny, but It helps me. I always like it; it’s part of rugby going to other team’s home grounds in a hostile environment but being able to play your game. I’m looking forward to that.

“It’s important for us to go out this weekend and put in a performance we know we are capable of. If we can do that the result will take care of itself.

“We’ve got a plan. We’ve had time to prepare for this game, we’ve learnt from the past. Come game time we’ll be ready to execute and play well.”

Sandy Park, 3.15pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: Greg Garner (100th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Tom Foley & Ross Campbell. TMO: Stuart Terheege.

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