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“Start being real contenders”-Henry Slade on Exeter Chiefs aspirations

Henry Slade has said him and the rest of the Exeter Chiefs playing group want to start shaking off the tag of being a young group and become serious contenders for silverware next season. 

‘Exeter 2.0’ has become the major talking point surrounding the club this year, with Rob Baxter giving fresh faces like Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, Ross Vintcent, Greg Fisilau and Rusi Tuima plenty of opportunities this season.

Speaking to ITV following his side’s 38-17 win over Gloucester, Slade said the playing group are already talking about kicking on next season.

“It is a young group, but we’ve said this week that we want to stop calling ourselves a young group; we want to be talking about ourselves as moving on and kicking on now.”

He added: “We’ve had a lot of experiences this year, good and bad.  The boys have learned a lot this year, but I think they want to get rid of that young tag and start being real contenders. The boys put their hands up today and showed what they’re about. Hopefully we can keep building on that.”

The Chiefs win yesterday has kept them in the fight for the top four, however they face tough games against Harlequins and Leicester Tigers in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to do all we can to get in that play-off race at the end of the season,” Slade continued. “But if not, we’re going to do all we can to put ourselves in great position moving forward.”

“He’s scary”-Henry Slade on Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

Feyi-Waboso scoring-Credit: IMAGO

Whilst there have been plenty of new faces blooded into this Exeter Chiefs side this season, the breakout star is undoubtedly Feyi-Waboso.

The Cardiff native burst onto the scene this season in their 64-0 drubbing of Saracens, and has only improved since then. His form for the Chiefs also earned him a spot in England’s Six Nations squad, where he furthered his reputation as one of the best young players in the world.

He has earned high praise from across the rugby world this year already, but teammate Slade also lauded his performances this season.

“He’s scary, he’s actually a freak,” said Slade. “I’ve never seen anything like it actually.”

He added: “One of the most powerful, gifted blokes you’ve ever met. The guy’s unbelievable.”

The pair are becoming ever more familiar with each other’s game, and it seems they are carrying on the partnership Slade had with long-term Exeter teammate Jack Nowell.