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Slade urges Exeter to forget 2020 achievements


Henry Slade
Slade recovered from a calf injury to take his place in the Exeter team that beat Lyon
Venue: Sandy Park Date: 10 April Kick-off: 17:30 BST
Coverage: Live radio commentary via BBC Radio Devon online and via the BBC Sounds app

Exeter will not be weighed down by their status as holders when they take on Leinster in the Champions Cup quarter-final, says centre Henry Slade.

Exeter are slight underdogs in the betting market compared to four-time winners and Pro14 champions Leinster.

“History means nothing,” Slade said. “It’s all about what we are doing now.

“Against Lyon I wasn’t thinking ‘if we lose, we lose our title’. We want to be positive and think how great it’ll be to win it this year.”

Exeter slipped 14-0 down to Lyon in their last-16 match last weekend but recovered to win 47-25.

Slade, 28, knows Exeter can ill-afford another slow start against a Leinster side packed with European pedigree and experience.

“We know how hard they fight for everything and how good they are at the breakdown,” he added.

“We have to be very strong and quick in there. Aerially they come after you under the high ball as well. We have to give them the respect they deserve but not too much. We want to be the aggressors.”

The match and the semi-finals at the end of April are the two highest-profile opportunities left for players to press their case for a place on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa this summer.

Slade, who missed England’s 32-18 defeat by Ireland in Dublin last month through injury, will be opposite Robbie Henshaw, touted as one of the leading contenders for a place in the Lions midfield.

The England centre says he has been working on adding more power to his running game this season.

“My strengths are my skillset, the ability to run, kick and maybe my slight deficit is the power and strength in contact,” he added.

“It is something I have been working on, doing drills and stuff in the gym. If that is something that gets me noticed then brilliant, but I am just trying to get better each day and each game.”



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