Exeter Chiefs up against Europe's best in Heineken Cup

Exeter Chiefs' captain Tom Hayes at the launch of the Heineken Cup. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

The Exeter Chiefs are venturing into the unknown yet again. They're the underdogs once more and it's almost becoming a cliche but this is the the biggest game in the club's history.

The good times just keep on rolling at Sandy Park and the Chiefs supporters have every reason to believe that there's more to come.

After all, their head coach, Rob Baxter, is leading the Devon club in a fairytale adventure. Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, everyone is dancing to his merry tune and no-one knows where this remarkable road will end or, at least, plateau out.

From the lower reaches of the national rugby pyramid, to the Championship, the Premiership, the European Challenge Cup, and now the Heineken Cup, Baxter has been driving this club forward as a coach and player for almost 23 years.

Exeter Chiefs' Head Coach Rob Baxter. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

In the two full seasons that Exeter have dined at the Premiership top table they've finished 8th and then 5th respectively. Quite some achievement and that brings its reward.

This well managed, well run, and well supported club, with humility at it's core, now stands on the cusp of the most elite and keenly contested rugby tournament of all, the Heineken Cup.

Better still, they make their debut against the reigning champions and arguably the greatest European club rugby side in modern history, Leinster.

It is the ultimate test. But the Chiefs swatted aside Harlequins at the weekend - the best side in England - and almost made mugs of another European juggernaut, Stade Francais, in April's Challenge Cup quarter-final. Not to mention a string of so-called 'upsets' in between.

This group is the very definition of the word 'team' - "A group organised to work together". Together they believe that anything is possible and, so far, they've proved it.