Gareth Steenson feeling the benefit of Exeter Chiefs' hard work
Exeter Chiefs fly-half Gareth Steenson believes the hard work the team have been putting in through pre-season will surface in their first pre-season match against Scarlets this Saturday.
The Irishman has said that the whole team have been impressing as they build towards the start of the new campaign and he is confident that everything will come together in a match environment.
“Pre-season has been going really well, it’s been five weeks of hard work and the guys have been putting in some good scores in the gym and the fitness scores are right up there, so we’re at that point now where we just want to get out there and play some rugby," said Steenson, who finished as the club's top points-scorer last season.
“We’ve done a bit of everything in training, but as a player you know this time of the year is always going to be tough. I think the guys have done really well, especially those we've brought into the squad, and there’s been a lot of hard work done whether it’s in the gym, in the swimming pool or out on the pitch.
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“All the time we’re working on tactical things as well - which which has been good - so things are coming together, but I think at this stage now you just need to get a game in to see all the benefits of everything we’re trying to achieve.”
The 29-year-old, who was a key figure in the Chiefs’ successive qualification in the Heineken Cup, has said that there is a real belief amongst the squad that after two successive top six finishes in the Premiership that the club can now push on further.
“The way we’ve gone the last few seasons, we always feel as though we’re learning and getting better,” he said. “We don’t get a lot of players in, but what we do bring in are high quality guys and they’re buying right into the culture of the club which is fantastic.
“Personally, I feel we’re only getting better and stronger as a group. We feel that every time we take the field we always feel better coming out the other side which is great for us because we’re still relatively new in the Premiership and definitely in the Heineken Cup as it’s only our second season. Again we’re going to learn massive things playing games against the likes of Toulon, Cardiff and Glasgow.”
With a trip to the Parc Y Scarlets first up for Steenson and the Chiefs, the talented No.10 says getting out onto the pitch offers the Chiefs the ideal opportunity to try new things, particularly as it is tougher in training when team-mates are familiar with what is coming.
“It is important because we’ve been trying things that we want to see work against opposition who don’t know what is coming," said Steenson. "It’s always hard whenever you’re training against your own guys, who are obviously trying to achieve things themselves, but everyone knows what we’re trying to do.
“I suppose when you put it into a match environment you test these things and see what works and what doesn’t work, so from that point of view it’s great that we’ve got the Scarlets, Bristol and the Glasgow games coming up. It’s also a great opportunity for some of the guys to get that jersey for the first game against Northampton at the start of the season.
“After all we've done this pre-season I can’t wait to start, this time of the year you are itching to get going now. We’ve had a good break and we’ve been working really hard and now we’re really looking forward to putting our first hit in.”