Gareth Steenson insists Exeter Chiefs are a much different outfit to that of 12 months ago as they gear up for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Final against Wasps at Twickenham.
Rob Baxter’s side booked a return trip to English Rugby HQ by sinking reigning Premiership and European champions Saracens 18-16 in a pulsating encounter at Sandy Park.
Sam Simmonds’ touchdown with just a minute remaining sent the Chiefs fans into pandemonium and ensured they would be heading back for a second successive appearance in English rugby’s showpiece event.
Whereas last year it was a whole new experience for the Devon club, eventually going down 28-20, Irishman Steenson believes this time round the Chiefs will be very much a different animal, with a different mindset altogether.
“We’re in a much different place. Even in the changing room after the game it feels different,” said the experienced fly-half. “We’ve talked a lot about building and being champions this year.
“Maybe last year wasn’t exactly the same way of thinking, maybe we were just happy to be in that final. It was our first experience of a day like that. A lot of people say you have to go through finals and lose them to put yourself in good positions.
“We talked all week about putting in a performance and I’m delighted with how we played. Fair play to Saracens they threw everything at us, we knew they would, but we have to go again next week. The job is not done, it will be another huge encounter for us, and we have to prepare this week and get ourselves ready for it.”