VIDEO: Jason Shoemark confident of success at Northampton
Exeter Chiefs may have lost their final pre-season game against Glasgow Warriors last weekend but centre Jason Shoemark says there is still no reason why they cannot win at Northampton Saints for the first time in the Premiership.
Chiefs begin their 2013-14 campaign at Franklin’s Gardens, where they have lost on all three of their top-flight visits since promotion in 2010.
Overcoming that statistic would support the growing feeling that the Devon club are ready to break into the Premiership’s top four.
Shoemark, who joined the club in the summer following promotion from the Championship, is full of optimism despite a 29-26 loss to Glasgow at Sandy Park last Saturday.
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He said: “Northampton are a great team and they have had our number since we have been up in the Premiership.
“It is a hell of a start but there are no easy games and we have to start somewhere. We would have to play them sooner or later – perhaps sooner is better than later.
“We’re pretty pleased with how pre-season has gone – it is about putting systems in place and I think we’ve done that. Glasgow are a good side and they put us under pressure. We have adjusted this week and we are a better side for it.
“The key for us this week has been not to panic; we always want to put in a performance we can be proud of. We didn’t do enough good things against Glasgow but they are a good side. They put us under pressure but it is about how we react to that.
“Northampton will be exactly the same and hopefully we have learned our lessons and we can find that performance now when we’re under pressure.”
Chiefs will meet Glasgow again in the Heineken Cup this season but Shoemark is more mindful of Premiership clashes with the likes of Wasps, London Irish, Leicester Tigers and Gloucester before they meet again.
He said: “It will be a massive game when we play Glasgow again. They are an up-and-coming team and we like to think we are as well.
“They have some big ball-carriers in midfield and some strong forwards.
“They will be a tough but first and foremost we have a tough few games in the Premiership.
“It can be daunting but it is exciting too. We’re going to be up against the best straight away and it will show us where we’re at and good teams thrive. Hopefully, we can play our game and the results take care of themselves.”
Asked if the Chiefs squad are wary of expectations growing around them, he said: “We don’t really look at things like that. We judge things game by game and if we get the results, when we come to the end of the year we will take what we are given.
“If we are out there playing well, we will give ourselves a chance, if not, we will be battling down the bottom.”