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Baxter's full of frustration


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Latest rugby union news

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter was fuming at the TMO in the wake of his side's likely Heineken Cup exit in Toulon, where they went down 32-20 to the reigning champions.

Baxter felt the first half pass from Matt Giteau to Dave Smith was three metres forward, yet the TMO gave Irish referee John Lacey the go ahead to award the score. That put Toulon in control of the game.

Baxter said: "With the TMO, it looks a little like if you throw a ball forward, you're more likely to get the try awarded than in any other way.

"The ball did look like it went three meters forward. At some stage, someone is going to have to make some kind of a rule.

"It looked forward to me, but there's been quite a few forward passes that have been allowed. It's more of a decision for the governing bodies."

Baxter pledged his side will go flat out in their final two Heineken Cup pool matches despite the bitter disappointment of losing both back-to-back games against reigning champions Toulon.

Their 32-20 defeat at Stade Mayol followed their narrow 14-9 loss at Sandy Park a week earlier and effectively put them out of the running for a quarter-final place. They now face Glasgow Warriors and Cardiff Blues to finish off the pool.

Baxter continued: "To give this competition the credit that it should have, we have to go absolutely flat out in our next two games.

"Toulon and Cardiff are the two teams in control of the pool, the only way we can justify us taking part in the competition is going absolutely flat out when we play Cardiff.

"We'll want to win the game, that's the way any team should approach the competition.

"We like the Heineken Cup, we like the experience it gives to our players, it's been a great tour for developing the way we play and increasing the intensity of our game."

Toulon are now two points clear of Cardiff Blues, who they play at home in the next round, and seemingly on course for the quarter-finals.

The French team's director of rugby Bernard Laporte said: "This was probably our best game in a while.

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"Again, the game last week was pretty good, we didn't score but had good opportunities, and there was a lot of positive things to take away from it. But today was probably our fullest game in the last two months.

"I don't like saying the we are defending champions. If you're defending something, it means you can lose it. No one can take away what we did last year.

"This is a new season, everyone started over and we want to go get a new title. We're not defending, we've started a new campaign, a new conquest.

"This is the Heineken Cup, everything can go one way or the other in a heartbeat.

"We'll be lucky enough to play home against Cardiff next month, it's up to us to do the job and win that game."

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