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Steenson hoping to see Exeter Chiefs' progress

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 19, 2013

Fly-half Gareth Steenson wants his side to show all they have learned today

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Like any fly-half, Gareth Steenson knows every game could be decided by one sweet strike from his trusty right boot, but today's Heineken Cup game against Leinster gives him a chance to make amends for one that got away.

The scoring in Chiefs' first game in the competition against the Irish side in October was decided by three number tens.

Jonny Sexton proved the match-winner as his third penalty kick just seven minutes before the end at the RDS beat Steenson's two, for a 9-6 victory.

Replacement fly-half Ignacio Mieres had a late chance to level the game for Chiefs, but he failed to hit the target from distance, just as Steenson did on two other occasions in the first half.

However, Dungannon-born Steenson is not interested in revenge or retribution this weekend in Chiefs' final group game.

He just wants to measure how far the club have come since that narrow defeat three months ago.

"It was a close result over there but I don't know if revenge is the right word," he said. "For us, it was our first game in the Heineken Cup, with this now being our last this season, it will be interesting to see how far we have come along since that day.

"We have learned lessons along the way in this competition which we have shown in the Premiership as well. Now it is an opportunity to test those things that we have worked hard on and learned – and that is something we are really looking forward to in front of our home fans with the reigning champions coming here.

"It is mainly little things we have improved. Technically we have picked up some interesting facts just from playing these teams."

Although Chiefs have done many things well on the pitch this season, their recent run of four games without a win is becoming a source of frustration for those harder-to-please supporters at Sandy Park.

However, Steenson says the mood in the squad is good, despite a 46-3 defeat to Clermont Auvergne last weekend. Bringing that winless run to a close against his countrymen would merely be an added bonus.

He said: "You can look at the results, but we have gone through the games, especially from the weekend, and the positives we have taken from them are incredible.

"We have picked up tips on how they finish things off and how clinical you have to be at that level.

"It is a step up again from the Premiership and it is just small margins for us and hopefully that is something we can get right for this weekend.

"The camp is still feeling good. We learned lessons along the way and made a couple of mistakes, a bounce of the ball here and there and Clermont were very clinical. If there was an opportunity to score, they took it.

"In the last 15 minutes, they just got their bonus-point try and then brought on some more international-class players. There is a lot we can learn from that experience.

"Obviously, it is always nice to come up against teams from your home country. I don't get to see Leinster very often but when you get these opportunities there is going to be a little bit of niggle.

"For us, as a club, it is about progressing from where we started."

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