Baxter hails driven Steenson

Date published: May 19 2016

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter has heaped praise on Gareth Steenson after the experienced fly-half won this season's Premiership golden boot.

Steenson finished the regular-season atop the points scoring chart with 234 and now hopes to help his side beat Wasps in their semi-final.

The game takes place at Sandy Park on Saturday with Steenson set to start at number ten after nailing down the shirt over the past year.

He hasn't always been such a permanent fixture in the side though as Baxter revealed that he has been impressed with how he has grown.

"At times he has had a battle on his hands," he told BBC Radio Devon.

"He's used them to mature both as a player and as a person, and he's used them as motivating things for himself to keep improving and keep driving."

The long-time Chiefs fly-half is a firm crowd favourite in Devon as he has been with the club during their promotion to the top flight, with this weekend another positive step in their journey to becoming a heavyweight.

"He's knuckled down, he's worked extremely hard, and he's taken the blows of being in and out of the team very well," Baxter added when speaking of how Steenson has improved as a player over recent campaigns.

"I remember talking to Gareth a few times when I dropped him and it wasn't nice for me or him, but one thing I did try to encourage was to use it in as positive a fashion as possible.

"I think he's really bought into that and it's become a real driver for him to become the player he is."