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Preview: Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs

Preview: Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs

Heineken Cup rugby may still seem some way off for Exeter Chiefs but according to fly-half Gareth Steenson they are still gunning for a top-six finish this season.

After ending an unwanted run of five-consecutive Aviva Premiership loses with a 47-16 win against London Welsh last time out at Sandy Park – Exeter head to table-topping Quins this weekend looking to build some much-needed momentum. 

The Chiefs are currently in eighth position in the Premiership table and are seven points behind sixth-placed Northampton Saints but Steenson is convinced Exeter can still put together an impressive end-of-season run and claim Heineken Cup rugby next season.

Exeter is one of only four sides to have beaten Harlequins in the Premiership this season – they won 42-28 in October – and are chasing a first ever league double over the Londoners. 

The Chiefs have lost on all three previous visits to the Stoop in all competitions, but Steenson is not worried.

"We are not far off where we were this time last year," said Steenson. "We were about three points better off at this point, so we just take a look at everything as each week comes along.

"We've got six games left and a huge game at Harlequins. That is a great opportunity for us. They are playing really well and are obviously one of the top teams, so it will be a good benchmark for us and what we've been doing over the past few weeks.

"We feel our game has been quite good, we just haven't taken all our opportunities.”

Harlequins' only defeat in their last 13 contests in all competitions was a narrow 17-16 loss to London Wasps at the Twickenham Stoop in the Aviva Premiership in February – this also represents their only defeat at the venue this season.

In comparison Exeter has not won on the road in Aviva Premiership Rugby since their visit to London Irish in November – all of the statistics may point to a Quins win but the home camp are getting away just yet.

"These months are vital and where you have to put the hard work in. We have some big games coming up but we have won nothing yet," said Quins centre Matt Hopper.

"We are in a good position to still be challenging in three competitions but we can't afford to relax as we are into the business end of the season.

"We have to focus on each game as it comes along starting with trying to avenge our defeat against Exeter in September."

Referee: David Rose (108th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Andrew Pearce. TMO: Graham Hughes.

For more news, try out Exeter Chiefs Harlequins Match Preview
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