Baxter wants Exeter to relish opportunity

Date published: April 10 2017

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter wants his charges to make the most of their opportunity after they booked a play-off spot over the weekend.

The Chiefs came from behind to beat Bristol 38-34 thanks to tries from Thomas Waldrom (2), Olly Woodburn, Geoff Parling and Ian Whitten.

After the win, Baxter admitted it was not easy but they got a maximum in a result that keeps them a point ahead of third-placed Saracens.

“It was a tough old game out there,” he told Exeter’s website. “It would be very easy to be critical of your own team without giving the opposition any real credit. I thought Bristol came here, they caused us a few issues, they got onto ball when we were sloppy, and they broke away and scored the points, so I’m not going to take that away from them.

“I thought our intensity levels were good and much better than against Sale in the last game. We saw that by the way we started. We scored early and we carried hard. Whether mentally we were where we needed to be, I just don’t know at this stage.

“In any game when you go points down it becomes a real battle and you’re always working hard to claw your way back. In a lot of ways I was quite pleased with how we dealt with going behind, just because we did not panic and we didn’t self implode.

Baxter has urged his side to now relax and relish the closing stages of the season, adding: “At the moment it feels like we’re scrabbling to stay in second place.

“What I want from our guys is for them to be get excited about being second. Where we are currently, they should be flying and excited, not worrying about who is around them and what we might lose. What we need to do is move on quickly and make the most of this opportunity.

“For me, this is a great part of the season to be involved in, so let’s go out there and maximise it for all we can.”