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Baxter ready for tough tests

Exeter's reward for reaching the Heineken Cup was the most punishing group imaginable, but head coach Rob Baxter insists the Chiefs are undaunted by facing Europe's heavyweights.

Champions Leinster, who are aiming to become the first team to win three successive titles, French giants Clermont and talent-laden Scarlets await in Pool Six. But Exeter will be battle hardened for their opening two fixtures by a series of high-profile encounters with some of the Aviva Premiership's elite.

"We've been given this run of games - Saracens, Leicester, Harlequins, Leinster and Clermont. It's a set of fixtures that no matter how successful you are in your career, you might never experience," he said.

"But rather than being intimidated, is that not a fantastic challenge? They're almost like five Tests on the bounce.

"If you're a good player, ambitious and in professional rugby for the right reasons, what more can you ask for?

"In the Premiership we still have too many people talking about how tough and attritional it is, that it's a marathon. But of course it is and that's what makes it great.

"We face a great and exciting challenge. Whatever happens during our pool, we will emerge a stronger and more experienced group of players. That's the club moving forward.

"First up we play the champions Leinster (October 13) - what a fantastic reward for the fans and players of Exeter."


From Belfast Telegraph