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Baxter delighted for players

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter was thrilled to see his players rewarded for their hard work after securing the club's first major silverware with a 15-8 victory over Northampton in the LV= Cup final at Sandy Park.

Early tries in each half from Chris Whitehead and Dean Mumm served to delight a crowd of just over 10,000 at the Chiefs' home, and although Samu Manoa crossed for Saints' only try 10 minutes from the end, the Aviva Premiership leaders were unable to avoid their second successive defeat in the final of this tournament.

Baxter said: "What is pleasing for me is seeing the players rewarded for they hard work this season. I was a little worried when we didn't pull away with the lead but to be fair I thought we were magnificent today.

"We did a lot of what we said we were going to do. I thought our forwards really fronted-up and that kept a lot of pressure off us in a lot of ways. We dealt with Northampton's very good maul, stood in front of them at scrum time and that kept us in the game.

"The conditions were perfect for us - this is Chiefs' time of year as I keep telling people - and we are proving that is the case. For me this is a nice little step which will build some momentum for the rest of the season.

"We'll give the boys a couple of days off now after a good night out. They need to enjoy this because when you work hard then you enjoy the good moments but they should enjoy it because they want more.

"I want them to get use to it because playing big games at this time of year is what it is all about. It was a big game at our ground, we had a lot of support here and they reward today just like the players."

Whitehead's try and a Henry Slade penalty saw the Chiefs go into the break 8-3 ahead, and they never looked in any serious danger of losing their grip on the contest when Mumm's converted try increased the lead in the second half.

Manoa's late touchdown was scant consolation for Saints, who were making their third appearance in the final.

Having beaten Gloucester in 2010, they tasted defeat to Leicester in the 2012 showpiece and were powerless to prevent another reverse on Sunday - a result that also ended a run of 13 wins since a Heineken Cup loss to Leinster in December.

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder had no complaints over the result.

"It was always going to be a big ask and we need to play at our best but unfortunately on this occasion we didn't," he said. " But we have other battles to fight and we are going to look forward to those.

"We were disappointed to lose but the LV= Cup is a good tournament for us and throughout the campaign as we have blooded lots of young players.

"We had a poor start and they scored from the driven line out but when we did get some pressure there we didn't take our opportunities to score. We came back into it in the second half and scored a good try towards the end but it was a little too late.

"We still have plenty to play for and the Premiership is always important so we need to make sure that we keep cracking on, winning some games and try to get a home semi-final because that is very important."


From Belfast Telegraph