Devoto hails 'special group'

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Exeter Chiefs and England centre Ollie Devoto says the togetherness of the playing squad can help deliver success over the next fortnight. Picture:

By Mark Stevens

Ollie Devoto has described his Exeter Chiefs team-mates as “a special group of players” ahead of their first Heineken Champions Cup final, against Racing 92 on Saturday.

The Chiefs have enjoyed a remarkable campaign, with the showpiece game at Bristol’s Ashton Gate the first of two finals in a week, as they take on Wasps in the Gallagher Premiership decider on October 24.

“We’ve got a special group of players here,” said the 27-year-old utility back. “A win would be very, very special for this group.”

However, the two-time England international is fully aware of the threat that Racing will pose as they also chase their first European title.

“There are coaches here who will look at the opposition,” he explained. “They’ve got quite a few [dangerous players]; they’re quite blessed in that department.”

Despite the magnitude of the fixture, Devoto insisted that the Devon club are trying to change as little as possible in their usual preparations.

“If you overcomplicate stuff, it leads to trouble,” he said. “Where we’ve done well in the past is when we’ve kept it simple.”

Devoto maintained that Exeter’s mentality will be tough enough to deal with two huge games in such close proximity and explained some of the players’ methods for coping with the pressure.

“I think it’s worked well that the European is before the [Premiership] championship,” he said. “We’ll be attacking this 100%.

“Downtime is key. The current economic climate helps with that – you get a lot of free time to relax. We’ve got a small group that goes down to Exmouth on our days off. Obviously, we get Sunday to recover. Then we’re in Monday for a big week.”

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