Baxter: We need to keep going
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter was left relishing the fact that their 31-15 win over Wasps extends the gap between them and the sides battling to get into to the top four.
The Chiefs have moved above Northampton, who travel to Saracens on Sunday, to go top of the Aviva Premiership standings after tries from Jack Nowell (two) and Thomas Waldrom, coupled with 16 points from the boot of Gareth Steenson were enough to see off Wasps.
Victory also moves them eight points clear of fifth-placed Wasps in the table and Baxter feels it is a key time to be pulling away from the sides just outside the top four.
"I think that what is going to happen over the next few weeks amongst the top group is going to be very interesting and for us it is about keep fighting and maintaining as big a gap as we can," he said.
"We have a huge game next week for us now, at home to Saracens, and I've told the players that the best part about winning is that you make every week a bigger game and a bigger game.
"I'm delighted that we followed up last week's win at Northampton with a good solid performance. There was the opportunity for a bonus point try at the end but there was only that opportunity because we withheld some sustained pressure on our line."
The Exeter coach was also pleased for Nowell, who he feels answered some of his critics with a well-taken brace.
"Jack scored them by being on the end of the last pass on the wing and now, I suppose, that will make him a great try-scoring winger. The reality is that his strength is that he does work all over the pitch," added Baxter.
"It is good for him that he has banged a couple of tries down because people can now stop saying he doesn't score tries. He scored more tries than Christian Wade scored in this game so we will wait and see what people think about that."
Wasps touched down twice during the game, with Rob Miller and Tom Lindsay crossing the whitewash, while Andy Goode added a penalty and replacement fly-half Alex Lozowski converted Lindsay's try.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young felt his side had a strong case for a penalty try after Exeter were pinged for several infringements at the scrum, which led to Tomas Francis being sent to the sin bin early in the second half.
But he also acknowledged that fixating on that would probably be "grasping at straws a little" after he was disappointed by his side's overall display.
He said: "I thought that we let ourselves down first half and blew at least three two-on-one opportunities. The minimum I expect from the players is to go out and put their bodies on the line and stick to the structure.
"There are teams out there that can rise above and play really well on the day. We put our hand up if someone plays better than us on the day and take it on the chin. But that wasn't us today, certainly in the first 40 minutes, and we lacked that bite and energy."
Young was also quick to praise Exeter, who he felt were more "on the money" than his side.
He added: "They are a good team and the league table doesn't lie. People seem to keep knocking them down but they keep proving people wrong and Rob (Baxter) keeps them pushing in the right direction so I think they are here to stay."