Baxter delighted with bounce-back victory
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes a positive reaction to the previous week's shock defeat to London Welsh formed the basis for a superb 14-12 win over Saracens in the Aviva Premiership yesterday.
Exeter made it two wins out of two at Sandy Park this season as overcame the 2011 Premiership champions to put the 25-24 reverse at Welsh firmly behind them.
A 53rd-minute try by big Fijian centre Sireli Naqelevuki helped to seal victory over a previously-unbeaten Saracens packed full of international stars in a tight game played in very difficult conditions.
"[The] result shows you just what the Premiership is about. You can look at results right across the league now and there is never a fixture that is decided before the game starts," said Baxter.
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"You have got to go out there and give it your best, you don't over-react to wins and losses, and the next week rolls along. I think we dealt with last week's defeat at London Welsh very, very well, as a management group, and particularly as a group of players.
"We had a very good training week, we were very open and honest about the things we felt hadn't quite gone our way, but there was no panic, there was no blame put on anybody, we just said we can do this better and that better, let's train at it, and see if we can make it happen in our next game, and that's what we did."
He added: "I thought the boys' temperament was exceptional, they stuck to a game plan fantastically well, and we backed that up with some fine individual performances, and we were very competitive for the full 80 minutes.
"We could have lost and not played any worse, but hopefully, the harder you work, the more things go your way, and I think that is a little bit of what happened today.
"I think we deserved the win, and because of that, that's probably why we came away with it."
Baxter admitted he had seen several areas of Exeter's game show a marked improvement against Saracens after two successive narrow defeats on the road – to Welsh and Northampton Saints.
"We got a lot right that we probably haven't got right in the last few weeks," he explained. "Our set piece was strong, and we stopped their driving game very effectively.
"There were a few too many penalties against us, for my liking, for lying around the tackle area, and we will have to address that a little bit, but we adapted throughout the course of the game.
"Tactically, we kicked really well, our half-backs were well in control of things for the majority of the game, and did things we wanted them to do, and we backed that up with great energy in our kick-chase and some great sets of defence."
Baxter was also pleased with the intensity Exeter showed when they were in good attacking positions.
"You could see us really firing, once we got the ball in the danger areas – something we have probably been a little bit guilty of not doing in some other games," he said.
"We are maybe firing all over the pitch and when we get to the kill zone, we are losing a little bit of our intensity, but we were better in that area.
"We got a reward with a good try, and we probably should have forced a try in the first half, when we were inches short of the line. However, it was a very good, solid, all-round performance."