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Mark McCall pays Rob Baxter ultimate compliment

Mark McCall has paid Rob Baxter the ultimate compliment ahead of the Aviva Premiership final by describing Exeter as the best coached team in the league.

The rivals lock horns at Twickenham on Saturday with European champions Saracens, guided by their director of rugby in 2015-16 award winner McCall, expected to dispatch the Chiefs.

Six seasons since winning promotion into the Premiership, Exeter find themselves in their first final and McCall can only admire the work of his opposite number Baxter.

"It's an incredible story and to do it the way they have done is superb - building year on year, not trying to go big early, instead building incrementally," McCall said.

"They have done a phenomenal job, bringing people through the academy, and also found almost rejects from other clubs and made them better after seeing the potential in them. So it's a phenomenal achievement by Rob and his coaching staff.

"When we go to analyse teams, they are best coached team, the best drilled, the best organised. He has done a good job."

Baxter is favourite to succeed Eddie Jones as England's head coach after the 2019 World Cup, but McCall insists he will not be tempted away from Sandy Park easily.

"I'm sure he's not in a rush because what he has built there is not going to end any time soon. He won't be rushing away in a hurry," McCall said.

McCall disputes Saracens' tag as favourites, even though they finished top of the table at the end of the regular season with Exeter in second.

"This is the irony of course - because they have come from where they have come from, everybody thinks we are hot favourites," McCall said.

"But they came second in the Premiership for a reason and got through to the Champions Cup quarter-final for a reason.

"They are a top class side. They are very well organised but they also work unbelievably hard.

"There is a real collective spirit about them, a real togetherness, which we admire enormously.

"On top of that they have got some gold dust, some wonderful players in Henry Slade and Jack Nowell in particular."


From Belfast Telegraph