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Rob Baxter says Exeter are well on course after beating Leicester

Published 07/11/2015

Rob Baxter's Exeter have won three of their opening four matches
Rob Baxter's Exeter have won three of their opening four matches

Exeter coach Rob Baxter believes his side can look forward to the coming weeks with optimism after beating fellow title contenders Leicester 19-6 at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Baxter admits it was difficult to gauge exactly how the Chiefs were faring this season following big wins over against bottom two London Irish and Newcastle in their last two matches.

But he feels that is no longer the case after ending Leicester's perfect start to the campaign.

He said: "It was hard for us to know where we stood having played London Irish and Newcastle Falcons. With those sides not doing too well in the league it is hard to judge the quality of those performances - though we were obviously pleased with them.

"Now we know where we stand, we are very comfortable with this first block (of Premiership matches) and we can really enjoy the next couple of weeks."

All of Exeter's points came from skipper Gareth Steenson with a converted try and three penalties.

The Tigers, who trailed 13-3 at the interval, could only reply with two penalties from Owen Williams, although both sides had a try disallowed.

Baxter hailed his side's mental strength after the match for overcoming a Tigers side who won this corresponding fixture 24-20 last season.

He said: " We haven't got the best record against Leicester, either home or away, and now I think that we have overcome some mental demons as much as we did physical ones. There were times in the second half when our kicking and decision-making went a bit awry.

"We made things difficult for ourselves but that is what Leicester are good at - creating a game that we probably feel uncomfortable with at times. It became frantic in that third quarter and we probably played into that. That ended up suiting us.

"Sometimes it's the mental battles that we have to learn to come through."

Exeter now have 15 points after winning three of their opening four Aviva Premiership games, leaving them two points behind Saracens who are the only team still unbeaten.

Leicester's first defeat sees them drop down to fourth place and director of rugby Richard Cockerill says his side did not deserve to take anything from the match.

He said: "Physically we got beaten so if you can't get parity in the set-piece then you are going to struggle. Exeter played really well, they dominated our physicality stakes, which is disappointing, and they were good for their win.

"We were in the fight and a point would have been nice but ultimately we didn't deserve it. We didn't control the game and we only have ourselves to blame because we were pretty much at full strength.

"Rugby is very simple - if you don't control the physical aspect of it you are going to get punished. We didn't control that aspect, Exeter are very good at it, and we got beaten, deservedly so."

It is not all doom and gloom for Cockerill, though.

He added: "We have played some tough sides - Wasps, Harlequins and Exeter - who will all be in the top-six mix over the season. We have some good bodies to come back into the squad and Jean de Villiers and Brendon O'Connor are to arrive."

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