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Rob Baxter admits Exeter's European Champions Cup race appears to be run

Exeter boss Rob Baxter accepted his side had little chance of progressing further in the European Champions Cup after the 13-7 home defeat to Bordeaux-Begles.

Baxter had seen his team squander a whole host of chances as they fell to a third consecutive defeat in the competition, which leaves them rooted to the bottom of Pool Five with only two points - 10 fewer than leaders Clermont Auvergne with three group games remaining.

The Chiefs' chief said after the Sandy Park setback: "Mathematically we are not dead but realistically we are out and all we can do is to give our best in the remaining games in a very tough group."

For large parts of the game, Exeter dominated in terms of territory and possession and they came close to scoring on a number of occasions. Their best player, Lachie Turner, was twice narrowly denied in the first half while the TMO ruled out James Short's effort 10 minutes from the end.

As a result, Exeter could only manage a single try through scrum-half Jack Maunder, which was converted by Gareth Steenson.

Baxter added: "I'm very frustrated as we showed a lot of good quality with our commitment and kicking for territory both very good.

"However we had multiple opportunities but didn't take them. They had far less chances than us but they took them and we didn't.

"Our frustration at not scoring got the better of us and in the end we gave them a soft position from which they scored the crucial try.

"I was concerned earlier in the season that we weren't being physical enough but that wasn't the case tonight."

One of Baxter's positives was the return of England wing Jack Nowell who played a full 80 minutes after a two-month injury absence.

Nowell looked sharp and hungry for possession but could not make any significant impact and Baxter said: "Jack was error-free tonight and will continue to improve - but he needs time after a long lay-off."

The French team's coach, former Wasps and England flanker Joe Worsley, accepted that his team were fortunate winners with captain Baptiste Serin kicking a penalty before scoring their only try.

Irish international Ian Madigan converted with his replacement Lionel Beauxis adding a late penalty to secure victory.

Worsley said: "It was great to win but it was a real stroke of luck to do so, for our kicking game was diabolical."

"However we've only been formed for 10 years and it's difficult to juggle two tournaments.

"We've never finished in the top six of the French championship so that is our aim but our reputation is important and we would like to do well in both competitions to attract players."


From Belfast Telegraph