Planet Rugby



Baxter relishing home LV= Cup final

10th March 2014 07:38



Delighted: Rob Baxter

Exeter boss Rob Baxter admits he is already looking forward to a huge cup final after his side beat Bath for the first time in the professional era.

The Chiefs fell behind in the semi-final clash at The Rec after just 24 seconds, when Leroy Houston scored the fastest try in LV= Cup history.

But Exeter full-back Luke Arscott dotted down twice to ensure Henry Slade's wayward goal-kicking did not let Bath run away with it and replacement wing Fetu'u Vainikolo's superb second-half try sealed the win.

The result sets up a final against Northampton Saints next weekend - at the Chiefs' home ground of Sandy Park - and Baxter is expecting another huge effort.

"I'm not going to go around saying 'Oh, it's just another game guys.' We're going to prepare like it's a massive cup game - because that's what it is," said Baxter.

"We're going to enjoy the week and getting ready for it. It's fantastic for our guys to be playing in cup finals.

"We said right from the start when we got into the Premiership, if we survived and worked hard there would be big games down the line - and this is one of them.

"We've scored plenty of tries against Northampton before at Sandy Park and that's what we've got to look to do. It makes us true to ourselves when we go after games and look to score tries.

"You could feel that when we turned up - to sunshine and a firm ground - the game was always going to be decided by great breaks and it went our way today.

"The momentum shifted a few times. It started with Bath and their try and shifted to us with Fetu'u Vainikolo's try which came a bit out of nowhere."

Bath had the opportunity to level the score in the final minute but fly-half Tom Heathcote, who had been impeccable from the tee all afternoon, sent a long-range penalty just short.

The defeat is a frustrating one for Bath, who had been arguably the competition's stand-out side in the pool stages, but head coach Mike Ford knows there is plenty left to play for this season.

"That team was good enough to win," he said.

"There were a load of opportunities where we could have created pressure and scored more points but we weren't able to control the ball at crucial periods of the first half.

"Second half, they scored two individual tries which put them on the front foot. Again, we nearly found a way at the end to get a draw.

"We're not too despondent because we've still got a lot to play for this year in the Amlin Cup and obviously the Premiership, which is massive to us.

"We wish them good luck in the final. We'll now have a week off to regroup, to get over the knocks and bruises and also to get mentally fresh for what's coming in the rest of the season."

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