Baxter demands his Chiefs throw caution to the wind at Kingsholm
Head coach Rob Baxter has a simple wish for his Exeter Chiefs side against Gloucester this weekend.
After admitting his players 'weren't themselves' during the first half of last Sunday's defeat against Leicester, he wants them to have the courage of their convictions.
Rather than taking a safety-first approach, he wants his charges to play with a desire to win at Kingsholm.
"It's a nice game for us, it's the kind of game you get in the Premiership for," Baxter said.
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"We should be going up there to make the game about ourselves. We've played well up there in previous years.
"We have to be competitive right across the board right from the start, like we were against Leicester.
"I'm not going to ask for any more from the players than we go out there and fire some shots. As long as we do that, I'll take anything that happens on the chin."
Baxter did not feel he got that from his players during the opening period against the Tigers, when they fell 15-0 behind before going on to lose 21-9. He was more pleased with the second-half display, but admitted they were still some way off where he would like them to be.
"Our balance in the decisions about where to kick, when to kick, when to carry and how to carry was a bit too much on the safe side," he said.
"What we did in the second half was alter the balance and that suited us a lot more, but we still weren't perfect, we still had a go a couple of times when it wasn't on which got us into a bit of trouble.
"At the same time, when we created some pressure moments, we got flustered a little bit, turned the ball over, made some bad decisions and lacked clarity with our key decision makers.
"The fact we get in the opposition 22 as often as we do is a great credit to the team, we've just got to make sure we convert more than we do. Against a lot of teams our conversion rate has gone up considerably from the last couple of seasons, our goal as a team is that we get that conversion rate up against the teams like Leicester and Northampton."
Baxter and his team of coaches were given a few things to think about in terms of selection for this weekend's senior game by the second team's 32-27 win at Bath on Monday evening.
The Braves' third win in the A League saw several players continue their return to full fitness, with South African summer signing Don Armand playing the full game and fellow recruit Greg Bateman appearing for the first time this term after a calf injury.
However, the head coach said there were unlikely to be wholesale changes after the Leicester loss.
"The Braves performance on Monday night made the selection meeting interesting," said Baxter.
"We're starting to get a bit thicker in the squad in some positions, which is very important for us.
"That will affect the quality of training and frees us up not to have to worry about trying to keep semi-injured or fatigued players playing every week.
"We've never made mass panic changes to the team, it's not something we do. There's always the possibility of there being a handful, but that's the case every week."
James Hanks (collarbone), Romana Graham (hamstring) and Luke Arscott (finger) are expected to return to full training next week in time for the opening Heineken Cup ties.