'We've got internationals pretty much everywhere now' - Exeter's high-powered attack key as they chase a historic double to join the revered list of English clubs
Exeter captain Joe Simmonds says there will be no let-up from the Chiefs as they continue their relentless pursuit of a domestic and European title double.
Two months before his 24th birthday, fly-half Simmonds will lead Exeter into uncharted territory – a Heineken Champions Cup final appointment with Racing 92.
A week after that potential blockbuster in Bristol on October 17, the Chiefs could find themselves in a fifth successive Premiership final at Twickenham.
“We want to win every trophy we compete for,” said Simmonds, whose stunning solo try completed a semi-final masterclass as Exeter downed multiple European champions Toulouse 28-18.
“That is the great thing about this team, we are so passionate to win trophies.
“We’ve had a few hurts in the last couple of years, losing finals, but we showed with the performance out there that everyone is hungry. It was brilliant.
“We are really excited. We’ve never been in this position before, and it is a massive opportunity for not just the players, but the club and Exeter as a city as well.
“When it comes to it, we will be raring to go.”
Exeter were only promoted to the Premiership 10 years ago, and their staggering rise ranks among British rugby’s most spectacular success stories.
And greatness beckons if they can land both major trophies, emulating the feats of Leicester, Wasps and Saracens during rugby union’s 25-year professional era.
“What was I doing 10 years ago? I think I watched one of the (Championship play-off) games here, and just probably looking up to people like ‘Steeno’ (his fellow Exeter fly-half Gareth Steenson),” Simmonds added.
“I loved the game, I loved watching rugby. To be here now is crazy.
“I saw a tweet saying there’s eight or 10 players in the (match-day) 23 that have come through the academy.
“The way the coaches read the players is brilliant, and for me to captain such a great team is brilliant. I have so many leaders out there, it helps my job.
“We are looking only an hour-and-a-half up the road for the final. We’ve got to take it as a home game for us.
“We are really excited for it, but we’ve still got two Premiership games to go and the semi-final. We’ve just got to look forward and enjoy what we are doing.
“To have this opportunity to play in such big games, we will relish it.
“We’ve got internationals pretty much everywhere now. We identified the key threats Toulouse would bring, then it was about putting our game on them.
“We scored 28 points against a very good Toulouse team, so we feel we can score points against anyone.”
While Joe scored 13 of Exeter’s points, his older brother – England international back-row forward Sam – also claimed a try as they both once again underlined their priceless value to the Chiefs’ product.
“He does alright!” Joe said. “I wouldn’t say it to his face, but yeah he does well and he gets the team going forward.
“It’s nice having him in the team. We never really talk about it too much, but when we finish playing and look back it’s going to be a proud moment for both of us.
“For now though, we’ve got to just keep playing well week in, week out.”
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