Slade and Cowan-Dickie praised after Exeter overcome Bordeaux-Begles
Rob Baxter reserved special praise for Henry Slade and his fellow England international Luke Cowan-Dickie after they starred in Exeter's 20-12 Champions Cup victory at Bordeaux-Begles.
Hooker Cowan-Dickie scored the crucial second-half try and fly-half Slade was named man of the match as the Chiefs made amends for their defeat at Sandy Park last weekend.
Thomas Waldrom scored the visitors' other try as a red card for Bordeaux wing Nans Ducuing proved to be the crucial moment.
"Some of Henry's passing was wayward at times and his performance was like ours as a team," Baxter said after his team's first win in Europe this season.
"But the important bits were there and that's the most pleasing thing. Hopefully Henry will keep driving forwards now. He hasn't played at fly-half for a long time and he hasn't had a lot of game time and this was Luke Cowan-Dickie's first game back, so it was always going to be a bit fractured but this is a win we'll celebrate.
"Then there's Jack Nowell, who has a lot more in the tank. Hopefully we should see some pretty special things from these players moving forwards."
Exeter were always kept in the game by the boot of Slade, who booted two penalties and a conversion, with Bordeaux's points coming via three penalties from Lionel Beauxis and one from replacement Baptiste Serin.
The home side were always up against it once Ducuing was red carded for clashing with Olly Woodburn in the air.
Asked for his view on the second-half incident, Baxter said: "It's a really difficult one. The referee made the right decision but as a rugby man I don't like it.
"Both players were committed to the ball, a collision happened but the directives these days make it that you can be red carded for quite an innocent act."
Exeter remain outsiders to reach the latter stages despite their first win in Europe this season.
Baxter added: "From a coaching perspective we have to keep challenging the players but ultimately when you sit here and look at the changes we made and the fact we won it's pretty pleasing.
"The pleasing thing for us is some of our players like Henry and Jack will only get better from this. It looks like Dave Ewers has tweaked his knee but we'll assess that and see where we are.
"Overall though it's an excellent result and I was pleased with the attitude we showed in defence. That played a big part in us winning the game."