Baxter frustrated after UBB defeat

Date published: December 12 2016

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter couldn't hide his frustration after watching his side slip to a third successive defeat in this season’s Champions Cup.

Having already lost to Clermont and Ulster, visiting Bordeaux-Bègles inflicted more woe on the Devon club by winning their round three encounter 13-7 at Sandy Park on Sunday.

Jack Maunder’s first-ever try for the Chiefs, converted by skipper Gareth Steenson, had helped to give the home side a 7-3 lead at the break, but back bounced the Frenchmen in the second period, claiming a converted try of their own through Baptiste Serin, who had earlier kicked a penalty.

Experienced French international Lionel Beauxis completed the scoring for Bordeaux, who moved back into second spot in Pool 5, just three adrift of Clermont, who themselves were undone at Ulster just 24 hours earlier.

Exeter’s loss means they have collected just two points from their opening three games and whilst mathematically it’s still possible for them to advance into the latter stages, Baxter has all but resigned himself to the fact that the Chiefs will not be replicating their achievements of last term, where they won through to the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history.

"I’m frustrated because I thought we brought a lot of qualities to the field tonight," he said at the final whistle. 

"It was tough to play multi-phase rugby out there, everyone could see that, but for large parts of the game we did a lot of things right. We squeezed territory well, we created multiple opportunities not just in their 22, but also 5m out, but we could not convert enough of them. It doesn’t matter how much I try and dress it up, that is ultimately what has cost us. We didn’t convert our opportunities, whereas Bordeaux did."

Success for the French side not only enhanced their qualification claims, but gave them the perfect lift ahead of this Saturday’s return meeting between the two clubs at the Stade Chaban Delmas.

Baxter admits it will be a great opportunity to put things right, as well as gear up for a testing next block of Premiership fixtures that will see the Chiefs entertain Leicester Tigers, before successive away days at Bath and Saracens.

"I’m certainly not frustrated with our desperation or our desire to go out there and give something to the game," added the Chiefs head coach.

"That alone is a big positive for me. Earlier in the season when we lost in games, there were times where we genuinely could have said we didn’t physically give enough. That wasn’t the case today because we physically committed to everything and in the end it’s a couple of important errors and not taking some of our opportunities that has cost us."

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