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Rob Baxter rues Exeter's slow start against Saracens

Published 11/09/2016

Rob Baxter's men were well beaten by Saracens
Rob Baxter's men were well beaten by Saracens

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter accepted that his side's slow start had cost them any chance of winning against Saracens in the Aviva Premiership.

Playing with a strong wind in their favour, the Chiefs found themselves 12-0 down after 20 minutes following tries from Alex Lozowski and Sean Maitland.

Saracens eventually eased to a 34-13 success to leave Exeter, last season's runners-up, bottom of the table along with newcomers Bristol with both having just one point from their opening two fixtures.

Baxter said: "We paid for a slow start and conceded soft tries by missing easy tackles, which made it very difficult for us. We lacked a bit of physical edge and you pay the price against a side like the Saracens.

"We did make individual errors and had little moments of losing focus. There were some good individual performances but we weren't able to tie it all together."

Despite the convincing defeat, Baxter wasn't too downcast and believed there were plusses to take from the match.

"The territory and possession statistics will be very much in our favour and I don't think we were miles away from a losing bonus point," he said.

"We matched their intensity after the first 20 minutes but their major players played very well for them."

Next up for Exeter is a home game against Harlequins and Baxter hopes to see a reaction.

He said: "We are bottom of the league and we've got a good team coming here next week. It is interesting to see how we react after two defeats as we are bound to be a bit edgy."

In contrast, reigning champions, Saracens, are flying high with two bonus point wins to take them to the top of the table. Last weekend they defeated Worcester at Twickenham but their boss Mark McCall appreciated that this performance was a much improved one.

"This was a big step-up from last week. It was a very difficult wind to play into and I thought we controlled it beautifully.

"The first 20 minutes went as well as they could have done. They are a good side and came back into it in the second 20 but we showed our defensive quality."

Jackson Wray and Ben Spencer also scored tries for Saracens, who were without Owen Farrell and George Kruis, the latter a late withdrawal with a back spasm.

Maitland, a recent recruit from London Irish, scored two tries and earned praise from his coach.

McCall said: "Sean offers something different; he's a real handful, gets involved and puts himself about."

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