Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Baxter lauds team

Rob Baxter insists Heineken Cup qualification is a 'big boost' to Exeter's future.

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter hailed his side's passion after they secured Heineken Cup rugby for a second successive season with a dramatic 40-39 win over Gloucester.

Chiefs fly-half Gareth Steenson held his nerve to slot a last-minute penalty and complete a 25-point personal haul in a victory that marked forward Richard Baxter's final appearance for the club.

"We have moved forward, we have the chance to double-up on the Heineken Cup now which is very important," the Chiefs coach said. "The successful teams in the Heineken Cup they get there not now and again - they get there regularly."

He added: "For us to be there again is a big boost to how we want to develop as a side. This game had everything and it looked for a little while - with the kind of emotion and drive that we put in - that the game was going to be all consuming

"With a minute to go, we sent on a message to go for the corner and maybe force the win to hit that fifth place. But it is not really our decision as coaches to make - it is for the players to say what they want.

"You could tell from the players that it was all about winning the game and that's not the worse quality to have. They just wanted to get that game won; they had put a lot in to that 80 minutes and they deserved that opportunity to win it."

The 10,744 supporters saw the lead change four times and with Gloucester taking two points from the game - having scored five tries and losing by less than seven points - they finish the season in fifth place just above Exeter.

Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies agreed it was a great game of rugby - but one that his side should have won.

He said: "I think the turning point was when we could just get three points on the board and take breath so we could regroup. The one thing that this Gloucester side has done, apart from one game, is show their resilience and come back.

"Through that resilience, the ability that we have in the team and the pace to finish off half-chances, we came back in to the game. By the end of the match I though that we should have won the game."

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