'We could be the most disappointed team in England': Steenson's warning for Exeter
Gareth Steenson insists Exeter’s euphoria will turn to despair if they fail to seize the opportunity presented by the biggest fortnight in the club’s history.
First up is Saturday’s European showdown with French heavyweights Racing 92 followed by a trip to Twickenham to face Wasps in a repeat of the 2017 final in which Steenson led Exeter to their only league crown.
“Being in back-to-back finals is pretty special. I didn’t think I would see those days. I thought I would be watching from afar,” Steenson said after Bath had been flattened 35-6 at Sandy Park.
“It’s a really exciting couple of weeks coming up now for the club. We’ve got ourselves into the position we wanted to be in at the start of the season.
“We could be sitting here is two weeks time with nothing. We could be the most disappointed team in England.
“So the message will be to get ourselves recovered after this game and build the emotional energy up again.
“Racing 92 is probably the biggest game the club has ever faced and the emotional levels should be there, so it will be about how we show up.
“To give ourselves a shot of achieving everything we set out to do is incredible but we know there is a heck of a lot of hard work to be done.”
Steenson joined Exeter in 2008 and pulled the strings a decade ago when Bristol were defeated to secure passage into the top flight for the first time.
In the wake of Saracens’ demise caused by repeated salary cap infringements, the Chiefs are now the Premiership’s dominant force and that mastery could soon extend to Europe.
Joe Simmonds has since replaced Steenson at fly-half, but the 36-year-old Northern Irishman is happy to play second fiddle to a player he believes is destined for England honours.
“Joe has been driving our side and has been all season. He has been leading the boys,” Steenson said.
“He defends well, he attacks the gainline really well and his goal kicking is very assured.
“He is a real catalyst for what we are doing now and it is a real credit to him personally in how he is driving guys and international guys around the field.”