Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Chiefs gear up for Sunday 'final'

Rob Baxter is determined to guide Exeter back into the Heineken Cup

Exeter boss Rob Baxter has likened his team's Aviva Premiership clash against Wasps on Sunday to a "cup final".

A Chiefs victory at Adams Park could clinch Heineken Cup qualification for a second successive season, especially if Bath lose against Recreation Ground visitors Leicester on Saturday. Exeter are currently sixth in the table, two points above Bath and three clear of Wasps with two games left.

The top six will secure Heineken places next term, although that would increase to seven if Saracens are crowned European champions this season. And Baxter said: "It is a little bit like we got through a cup semi-final against London Irish (last weekend) and play the cup final this week,"

He added: "These are the games you want to play in at this stage of the season. We have talked about it for quite a few weeks. The top six spots have been within our grasp, and we have to show ambition and determination to make a real fight for it."

Saracens and Leicester, meanwhile, have already secured play-off places, and they can be joined by Harlequins and Northampton on Saturday.

Quins need a win at Worcester, while a bonus-point victory for Saints against Franklin's Gardens visitors Sale Sharks would also be enough, meaning Gloucester could finish no higher than fifth, whatever they do against Saracens at Kingsholm.

Worcester parted company with their head coach Richard Hill earlier this week, but the Warriors will be determined to make their final home game of the campaign a memorable one.

For Northampton, a repeat of last weekend's five-point maximum against London Welsh would complete this season's play-off picture, provided Quins beat Worcester.

Gloucester, meanwhile, must defeat Saracens and hope other results work for them, but they are on the back of a crushing loss to Sale last time out.

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