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Rob Baxter feels Exeter Chiefs are turning season around

Published 29/10/2016

Rob Baxter believes Exeter may have turned a corner
Rob Baxter believes Exeter may have turned a corner

Rob Baxter insists Exeter must look at Sunday's Aviva Premiership opponents Bath to see the ingredients missing from their own game this season.

Successive defeats in Europe have all but ended the Chiefs' hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, while on the domestic front they have posted only two victories in six outings.

Last season they reached the knockout stage of both competitions, but Baxter knows Exeter have lacked intensity this term.

"Bath have a lot of resilience and that is a great quality to have - probably the quality we have lacked this season, if we are honest with ourselves," Baxter said.

"You can see they look very confident in themselves and that is often the best indicator of a team.

"They are happy to play effective rugby and don't feel they have to play end-to-end stuff."

A last-gasp 19-18 defeat by Ulster last weekend has convinced Baxter, however, that Exeter are nudging themselves back on track.

"I think we're seeing the team improve bit by bit," Baxter said.

"As a team I want us to take lots of little steps over the course of this season and not talk about all of a sudden there needs to be some kind of miracle because sport is not like that.

"What we have to be prepared to do is work very hard and take lots of little steps, not just as individuals, but as a team.

"Ulster was an intense game of Champions Cup rugby, which it went right to the wire. For me, that shows how close we are.

"Obviously you always want accuracy, but the key foundations of us being a bit angry and a bit intense were there whereas they weren't the week before."

Bath, beaten Premiership finalists in 2015, have been reborn under new head coch Todd Blackadder and among the reasons behind their success has been the form of wing Semesa Rokoduguni.

"Rocco is one of those X factor players, but he's smart and intelligent as well," Blackadder said.

"He's a mature guy so he's not going to do anything erratic. He can stay within systems on attack and within systems on defence.

"Rocco's lightning quick and he's got the best feet I've ever seen. If you give him a little bit of open space he's going to finish."

In Sunday's two other fixtures, Wasps host Newcastle and Sale visit Bristol.

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