Steenson: Exeter won't let up this season

Exeter captain Gareth Steenson says the Chiefs have no intention of resting on their laurels as reigning Aviva Premiership champions this season.

Barely three months after Steenson and company stung Wasps at Twickenham to land a first Premiership title, the hard work begins again with a west country derby opener against Gloucester.

“Cementing ourselves as a top four [Premiership] side has got to be the bread and butter,” Steenson said.

“But we also realise what will be expected of us in Europe as Premiership champions. We have got to try and look to get out of the group and get ourselves in the knockout stages. We’ve got the squad, and it is a lovely challenge to have.

“There is no such thing as an easy game in the Premiership. If you don’t go out and play well and perform on the day, you lose. It’s as simple as that because the league is that good. You have got to be on it every single week.

“We have got to raise our game, too. We have never really done a lot of chopping and changing in terms of the squad. What we have added is bits of quality.

“It’s a good place to be at the minute, and we have got to use the confidence we’ve got in the right way.”

Exeter have had a quiet summer in the player movement market compared with most clubs.

And that tried and tested squad strength in depth should once again serve them well this term, with an added bonus of young prospects like Jack Maunder and Harry Williams having gained senior England honours in Argentina two months ago.

“It’s nice to come in and have a new challenge,” Steenson said. “The club has always been about progressing, and there is so much more the club can achieve and do.

“We haven’t performed that well in Europe, which is something we will definitely talk about. And we want to establish ourselves as a top-four Premiership team. First and foremost, we want to make sure we are hitting those playoffs again.

“There is so much potential in the squad to continue to fight on all fronts, really, and it is something we will really look forward to.

“We probably rolled into last season following the [2016] Premiership final against Saracens, and it was very evident that we weren’t on the ball in the early part of that campaign.

“We were probably still patting ourselves on the back on how well we had done, but we had a meeting in October time and righted a few wrongs.

“The danger of last season was that it could have been a nothing season for us, and it ended up being one of the greatest. It just showed the resolve we have in the group.”