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Thomas Waldrom backs Exeter to deliver against Leicester

Thomas Waldrom has urged Exeter to "keep delivering" during Chiefs' concerted push for an Aviva Premiership play-off place.

Last season's runners-up are unbeaten in the league since October after embarking on a nine-game run that has elevated them to second place, where they are one point above reigning champions Saracens and six behind leaders Wasps.

Leicester - Exeter number eight Waldrom's former club - are next up at Welford Road on Friday, where a win for the Chiefs would keep them firmly in the play-off picture and remain on course for a home semi-final in May.

"It is a big game for both sides," Waldrom said. "We are at a crucial stage of the season, and every game is huge from now on in.

"It's good that we are in the position we are in, and that we have things in our own hands, but we know we have to keep delivering.

"We've been building slowly for a while now, adding different aspects to our game each week, and we are going well.

"We are taking confidence from the things we're doing, and hopefully we can continue that on Friday night."

Leicester currently lie fifth, in close touch with the play-off zone, and they are chasing a fourth successive league victory for the first time in two years.

"We've watched a few of their games in the build-up, including last week, where they were probably not happy with their first-half performance (against Harlequins)," Waldrom added.

"But they showed after the break how strong they can be, scoring 20 unanswered points, so we know it will be a tough contest up there.

"At the same time, we are going well ourselves. Each week we set ourselves targets for games, and we are disappointed if we don't reach them.

"Leicester often talk about the pride of playing at home, but for us, we have to treat it like it's just another game.

"We need to go there, perform well, do the basics right and look to play to our strengths. It's the same for any game, but the key for us is to make sure we start well and take the game to them."

Although Leicester have reeled off a run of strong results, Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger believes there is room for improvement.

"The last few performances have been a step in the right direction, but we also know there are things to tidy up, and we are going to have to be better on Friday," Mauger said.

"Exeter are a quality side, they are well-balanced with a good pack, and the skill set to play out wide too.

"We are still focused on being better. We have good competition for places in the squad, and there is a good intensity about training."

In Friday's other Premiership game, Sale can deal Northampton's outside play-off chances a major blow by beating them at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Sale's five-game winning sequence in all competitions ended at Saracens last weekend, but Northampton have won just two of their last seven Premiership away games, and both were by a single point.

"We need to win the game against the Saints," Sale rugby director Steve Diamond said. "If we do win, then we will be among the gang above us in the table.

"It will be difficult for us to get sixth or seventh in the table, but we have got to aim for that. That's the job in hand."

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