Gabby Cantorna hopes Exeter Chiefs’ victory over Saracens in the Allianz Premier 15s will spur them onto new heights.
After the league was suspended in January to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, the first fixture back saw Chiefs take on the two-time champions.
It was the league debutants who had a half-time lead of 15-0 and despite Sarries getting two tries on the board in the second half, it wasn’t enough as Exeter secured a 22-14 win.
And the United States international believes the result was the culmination of the hard work her side have put in this season.
“It was brilliant to get the result against Saracens,” Cantorna said. “For us, we’d been showing that we can compete with the top teams in the league.
“I think we just needed to have confidence and the ability to string it all together which is what we did. We were very pleased with it and now we're looking forward to building on it in the second half of the season.
“It was massively important for us as a team. We’d shown glimpses in other games that we could create beautiful things and we could defend well but we just lacked the ability to do it for the entire match.
“Moving forward we still have some things we’d like to get a little bit better at and we want to make sure that we stay strong in the things that we are performing.
“For us it’s a big confidence boost and we’ve got our tails up now.”
Exeter sit fifth in the table having won five out of their 10 matches and face another stern test next as they host unbeaten Harlequins.
Earlier in the season Quins beat Chiefs 33-14 and Cantorna, who scored two conversions and a penalty kick in the victory last time out, believes the contest will show how much her side has improved.
She added: “We’re expecting a really physical hard match. They have a really strong forward pack, as well as some fast and expansive backs so we’re looking forward to playing them again.
“I think it’s a good measuring point for us because it will be another team that we have played previously in the season.
“It’s nice to get those second outings against a team to see how far we have progressed as a unit.”
This weekend the competition returns with a full complement of fixtures as third-place Wasps play host to Worcester Warriors and second-place Saracens travel to DMP Durham Sharks, who are without a win this season.
Bristol Bears are the visitors to Loughborough Lightning, while the final match will see Sale Sharks welcome Gloucester-Hartpury to Heywood Road.