Brown set for capital trip
After ending their five-match winless run in the Aviva Premiership against London Welsh last weekend, Exeter Chiefs prop Alex Brown insists there's a new-found confidence at Sandy Park despite having a daunting trip to leaders Harlequins on the horizon this weekend.
Brown, who made a 39-minute cameo last weekend off the replacements bench against the Exiles, insists despite results going against them in 2013 thus far - at no stage has Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter pressed the panic button.
The Devon club have not won on the road since November at London Irish, but Brown believes it's only small margins that have stopped the Chiefs stringing together a series of Aviva Premiership wins in recent weeks.
The Chiefs are one of only four sides to have beaten reigning champions Harlequins in the Premiership this season, they won 42-28 in October at Sandy Park, and are chasing a first-ever league double over the Londoners.
And Brown, 23, insists regardless of the opposition facing the Chiefs this weekend, Exeter won't be changing their preparations ahead of the showdown with the table-toppers at The Stoop.
"I think it was an accumulation of reasons as to why we won last week," said Brown. "Things are going to go wrong during the season and it's about ensuring you don't lose your head. Rob (Baxter) is very good in that regard and he ensures we don't ever have any crisis times.
"It's about changing a few things and simply tweaking a few things and that's all it is to be honest. We've got all the right ingredients at Exeter but it's about getting them in the right order to go and win a game of rugby.
"Any team is tough at home, not just Harlequins, but on any given day the beauty of rugby and this league is that any side is capable of securing a victory wherever they're playing. It will be a tough one and we won't be expecting anything less as Harlequins are a good side."
Last season Exeter finished in the Aviva Premiership's top-six and secured Heineken Cup rugby as result - 12 months on and it hasn't been quite as easy for the Chiefs.
Going into the weekend, the Chiefs find themselves in eighth; seven points off sixth-placed Northampton Saints but with Gloucester Rugby, London Wasps and Leicester Tigers still to play - three of the sides above them - Exeter have not given up on a top-six finish just yet.
"We've had a few close games and I think it was just about getting the right things in the right places," added Brown. "There has been a really positive attitude and a good energy at training all week in the lead up the fixture. We've got the same good feeling again this week; it's about keeping up that energy and realising a game starts from the Monday before. You can't just turn up on a Saturday and play and expect to win.
"We don't set internal goals about where we're going to finish this season. It changes during a season, we're aiming to be there but it's very important times currently and the next few games will be crucial. Teams can flip themselves on their head in terms of their form and also results. You can't be obsessed with where you're going to finish.
"It has been a big learning curve with the Heineken Cup and I don't think you can only take negatives out of a game that you lose. You've got to take it all on board and move forward and that's what we've done."