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Naqelevuki knows Chiefs must be right mentally to cause Cup upset

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 09, 2012

Exeter Chiefs
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The game may have already been won but Sireli Naqelevuki's late try against Harlequins last weekend encapsulated everything good about Exeter Chiefs' greatest Aviva Premiership win to date.

The Devon side beat the reigning champions Harlequins, 42-28, at Sandy Park to mark their 50th top-flight game in style.

Brett Sturgess, Ben White and Jason Shoemark had already set the home on their way to victory before Fijian centre Naqelevuki powered through the tiring Quins to seal a remarkable win.

"I was just lucky to be in the right position to score the try," said Naqelevuki. "It was good work from everyone in the team that led to the try."

Modest Naqelevuki believes the Chiefs' success depends entirely on their mental approach.

Their performance against Quins was the perfect response to a disappointing defeat to Leicester Tigers the previous week. Naqelevuki said the Sandy Park crowd also played their part.

"It was good, hard work from the boys and we deserved the win against Harlequins," he said.

"It is all about us, if we are not ready mentally like last week, we get beaten. This week we were ready and we just came out and played our best. We are a good team, everyone knows that, it just depends on us on the day.

"Last week would could have won but we didn't come out to win but this week we did and showed the right mentality. If we want to win, we can win.

"And it is good to play at home because the fans are part of the team. When they are cheering you can feel the support and the boys love it."

The Chiefs were able to rotate a number of their most experienced players last weekend.

Skipper Tom Hayes, flanker James Scaysbrook and fly-half Ignacio Mieres were all taken out of the starting XV with no ill-effects.

"We can see the depth of the squad after this performance," said Naqelevuki. "If someone gets replaced there is another good player that can come in and make the team go forward. All the players that came in against Harlequins came in and did a really good job. It just shows the depth we have now got in the squad."

A similar performance will be required if Chiefs are to enjoy similar success in their first-ever Heineken Cup match against Leinster this weekend.

Naqelevuki said: "We are really looking forward to playing Heineken Cup rugby. It will be a good test to see what the standards are like and it will be a big experience for us.

"It will be the same for us as it was against Harlequins. It is good for us to go into the game as underdogs."

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