Baxter praises Exeter Chiefs winning performance

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter praised his side as they returned to winning ways with an impressive 33-9 victory over Worcester Warriors in the Aviva Premiership.

Having suffered defeats to Leinster and Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup, as well a setback on the road at Bath just seven days earlier, the Chiefs rediscovered their winning formula in style as tries from Gonzalo Camacho, Haydn Thomas and Chris Budgen helped pave the way for Exeter’s fourth league win of the season.

As well as the three tries, fly-half Gareth Steenson kicked over a further 16 points, whilst replacement Ignacio Mieres rounded off proceedings by adding the extras to Budgen’s late score.

In reply, Worcester’s former England international Andy Goode landed three penalties, but that was all they could muster in a contest the Devon club dominated from start to finish.

“The result was very important at this stage of the year and accumulating points is always very important,” remarked Baxter afterwards.

“We are competitive at the minute and I think 20 points is a good return at this time of the year, it’s ahead of where we were this time last year when we ended fifth.

“If I’m being honest, I’m pleased with where we are, but I am a little frustrated we didn’t ram home some of the advantages we created in the game by getting that fourth try. That said, you have to give credit to the players because they were really going for it at the end and it was an exciting finish.

“We’re in a good position, but a couple of away performances and results will knock us up the table very quickly.”

Exeter’s latest win ” one which made it four from four on home soil in the Premiership ” was created thanks to a powerful first half display in which they led 19-3 by the interval.

“We built a good platform in the first half and a lot of what we asked the players to do, I thought they did very well,” added Baxter.

“Our maul defence; our scrum and our enthusiasm to defend was fantastic. As well as that, Steeno kicked really well and that enabled us to build a nice platform and we were able to kick on from there.”

As expected, the Warriors were much improved in the second period and countered with two more penalties through the boot of fly-half Goode. However, the Chiefs quickly kicked back into attacking mode and were rewarded with late tries from Thomas and Budgen.

“They knocked us off our stride a bit early in the second half,” explained the Exeter coach.

“The first two or three things we did in the second half gave them the ball back and we looked a little edgy for a bit. That meant it took a while for us to wrestle the momentum of the game back but, when we did, all of a sudden the game exploded again for us.

“We’re still the only team in the league to have won every game at home and long may that continue. We have performed better at home, but what we have to do now is push through with our consistent home performances and add in a couple of away games.”

Next up for the Chiefs in the Premiership will be a trip to London Irish, quickly followed by a home assignment against London Wasps. Before then, however, Exeter have two LV= Cup engagements, starting with next Sunday’s trip to London Welsh and then the visit of the Ospreys.

And Baxter says he is looking forward to using the next fortnight as a chance to not only look at his first team squad in full, but at the same time rest up a few of his warriors following a string of recent battles.

He said: “We will look at things over the next few weeks, but the reality is we have a lot of guys who all want to put their hands up for selection. “

“There are guys below this group who are really pushing hard and I am expecting some big performances in the LV= Cup ” not just from the senior players, but from guys who have been on the bench recently and also from the academy.”

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