Nowell, Slade backed for England

Date published: February 21 2015

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter was full of praise for his young English players Jack Nowell and Henry Slade after beating Quins.

Nowell started at outside centre for the Chiefs despite limited training time having been away with the national squad, while Slade is on the England management's radar.

Praising Nowell, Baxter stated that he had come through a real 'test of character' in Exeter's 32-21 victory.

"That's a lad who has been away training with England all week," Baxter explained.

"He did a few minutes of the team run with the team yesterday and performed like he did today.

"If that's not a great test of character then what better one could he have had today? He knew he was going to have limited time with us and he knew a big performance was possibly going to get him in the running to play for England.

"If that's a test of character, then he's certainly come through with flying colours. He was exceptionally good again today, so if Stuart wanted to see him in a test. He's had one and he's done very, very well."

Slade meanwhile racked up the points for Exeter, scoring one of their two tries and adding an impressive 22 points off the boot, including two penalties.

"Sladey is playing very, very well," Baxter added.

"He kicked very maturely today both at posts and for field position. Everyone knows he's a very good defender and today he showed some really good attacking quality as well.

"He glided in for that try didn't he? He looked untouchable. He's got some fantastic attributes.

"Sladey's playing against some very good players in the England set-up. But, I think, sooner or later, if a player's going to have it all, he's the guy who's going to have the most complete package in the future."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea had no excuses for his side's defeat, highlighting a lack of confidence.

"There's no hiding place," O'Shea said.

"You can't fault the effort. I think the confidence isn't there because we've had a few blows along the way.

"It's not where we want to be as a club, but I wouldn't ever question the players after seeing what they did out there today in terms of reaction and what they're about."