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Baxter: Important to build on win

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter believes the importance of their 36-13 victory over Harlequins will depend on the results from their next two matches.

The victory was only the Chiefs' second home league win in 2014 and they are now just a point behind Bath ahead of next week's trip to struggling Newcastle.

Baxter believes their clash with the Falcons, as well as the following week's encounter against London Irish, will be as important as their triumph over Quins.

He said: "The only way that we will know is when when get through our next two matches - away to Newcastle Falcons and home to London Irish. The proof of the importance of this fixture will depend on those two results.

"If we don't work hard, if we don't get things right now then this result, although great to collect some points at home and beat Harlequins, but ultimately through the course of the season it doesn't add up to very much."

The Chiefs went in 19-6 ahead at half-time through a Thomas Waldrom try which was converted by Gareth Steenson, who also landed two penalties alongside a brace of three pointers from centre Henry Slade.

Quins' reply came from two Ben Botica penalties but they reduced the arrears early in the second half with a Aseli Tikoirotuma touchdown, converted by Botica.

However, tries from skipper Jack Yeandle and Slade, with Steenson converting both and adding a penalty, settled matters in the home side's favour.

"It was fantastic to be chasing a try-scoring bonus point at the end," added Baxter. "I think we still had a bit of the extras about us just after half-time when we let the momentum shift towards Harlequins for quite a period.

"But for us to weather the storm as well as we did and then eventually pull away and become relatively dominant in the game was fantastic for us. It was a big reward for the players and the hard work that they have been putting in.

"We haven't always felt that we have got the reward for the hard work at home when we have lost some of these close games. But to come through like we did, sticking to your principles, then you can come through with a good win like we did."

The defeat saw Harlequins dropping to ninth place in the table and left their director of rugby Conor O'Shea embarrassed.

He warned that things have to change, starting with their next game at home to basement side London Welsh.

"We didn't look like a top side out there and when you give as much ball away to an opposition as we did - not taking anything away from Exeter - then you are not going to sustain any momentum and you are not going to be in the game," said O'Shea.

"I am pretty emotional and furious because you just cannot play the game when you cough up the ball as easily and make as many basic errors as we did.

"We have to rectify it and, as I said a couple of weeks ago, you'll see the character of people.

"It is just not good enough and the season could slip away from us very quickly if we don't act quickly. You write your own script and you have to bounce back - that is what sport is about - having won two and lost two.

"We have to put that right starting, with London Welsh at home next week. If I were them then I would be looking at us and saying that we'll give them a crack. We cannot afford to remotely think that when they come to the Stoop."


From Belfast Telegraph