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Chiefs up for Stade clash

Rob Baxter has backed Exeter's big-game mentality to serve them well when they tackle French heavyweights Stade Francais in Paris.

The Chiefs head to Stade Charlety for an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final that reaffirms just how far they have risen under Baxter's astute direction.

"Every time we have gone into Europe and played against some of these well-established French clubs, we've always put in a big shift," Baxter said.

"That is what I am assuming will happen again this week, so I know if we do perform well over in France it will make the game very interesting."

Exeter are also pushing hard for an Aviva Premiership play-off place, while Heineken Cup qualification next season is well within their grasp.

Baxter has retained the team that accounted for London Irish in last Saturday's Premiership clash at Sandy Park, being able to do so after hooker Chris Whitehead recovered quickly from an ankle injury.

He added: "There are some teams who are probably already looking forward to their holidays, but we are not. Instead, we have a number of games left that we want to win, and this is the first of them."

Stade breezed through their qualifying group, averaging 40 points a game, and they will field a side containing four players who saw RBS 6 Nations action this season in Sergio Parisse, Julien Dupuy, Dimitri Szarzewski and Pascal Pape.

And Exeter fly-half Ignacio Mieres, a former Stade player, knows the level of performance required if Chiefs are to clinch a semi-final tie against Toulon or Harlequins later this month.

"Perhaps our greatest strength is that we play for the full 80 minutes - we never give up - and it will need that determination from each and every player giving 100% if we are to win and make the semi-finals," Mieres said.

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