Exeter hurting after narrow defeat

Date published: October 23 2016

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter says they were bitterly disappointed to lose against Ulster with a last-gasp drop goal.

Paddy Jackson slotted a drop goal two minutes from time to hand Ulster a 19-18 win over Chiefs on Saturday.

The Chiefs put in a gutsy effort in a tense, nervy Pool 5 clash at the Kingspan Stadium and looked to have pulled off an important victory when fly-half Gareth Steenson knocked over a drop goal of his own with just four minutes remaining on the clock.

But Ulster went straight downfield from the restart and laid the platform for Jackson to immediately reply and put the hosts back in front by a solitary point.

The defeat leaves the Chiefs bottom of Pool 5 ahead of a back-to-back fixtures against Bordeaux-Begles in December, and comes after an inconsistent start to the Premiership season, but Baxter believes a gritty effort in Belfast gives them something to build on.

“I am hurting, but I am hurting for the right reasons because we have taken part in a blood and guts game. Both sides went flat out and I don’t think either side deserved to lose,” Baxter said.

“We are distraught, and if you go in the dressing room the players are distraught, but there are things I know we can take forward. The only thing we can do is keep working hard and this gives us something to work on because we fought and had a willingness to stay in the battle and we will look to build from this over the next few weeks. I don’t think this means our European hopes are over.”