Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Baxter in mood to celebrate

Rob Baxter was delighted to see Exeter make such a strong start to the season

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter admitted that he might have a pint of cider - Devon champagne - after his side had recorded their biggest ever Premiership victory as they beat Sale Sharks 43-6 at Sandy Park.

But there was no such cause for celebration for Sale's new director of rugby Bryan Redpath on a day which saw Danny Cipriani make his debut for the club.

"As a coach getting that first result brings a bit of relief as we all start on no points," admitted Baxter. "We had a nice finish to last season where we were comfortable and we could get after games."

He added: "We have kind of taken off in the same manner, which is really pleasing, but the scoreline probably doesn't show that the game was massively competitive for very long periods.

"We were just shading enough of them to give us momentum and once you get a couple of scores up and team have to start coming back at you, the game shape changes.

"As it opened up we managed to exploit some opportunities but great credit to our players who had to work extremely hard for a long time to make these cracks appear.

"We have said to the guys to be as competitive as we can, in every area of the pitch, and the little bits will add up.

"We were good in a lot of little areas - our lineout was competitive on their ball, our scrum was competitive on both put-ins; our breakdown work was good - there was lots of little things that put pressure on Sale and kept the pressure off us."

The defeat means that the Sharks have lost all five encounters with the Chiefs and Redpath said that he was honest with the players in the dressing room after the match,

He added: "Any team that does that isn't going to win or come close. To play any team in the Premiership that [the performance] wouldn't have been good enough so there is no hiding place for it."

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