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Rob Baxter wants Eddie Jones to give Exeter Chiefs stars a chance

Rob Baxter insisted his thoughts were never on the possibility of taking over as England's head coach but on kick-starting Exeter's European Champions Cup campaign.

After an opening defeat to Ospreys, Exeter 's first victory against French opposition came with a 34-19 bonus-point victory over Bordeaux-Begles on a bitterly cold night at Sandy Park.

Baxter stressed he was not disappointed that England did not come calling when they were seeking a replacement for Stuart Lancaster.

He hopes the man selected for the job, Eddie Jones, will consider some of his players in the coming months.

"He has already said that he is starting with a clean sheet, that's great for the players and great for me from a coaching point of view when I am talking to our English-qualified players," said Baxter.

"I'll tell them to start racking up some points in their favour now but that normally starts with winning games and playing well. We probably didn't show ourselves in a great light last week but this week we showed more qualities that we are used to seeing.

"Human nature should say to those players that they want to impress him (Jones) and they'll want to make sure that they are playing well in these games when he first starts to look at them.

"I would like to think that any of our players who have genuine ambitions to play for England will been driven that little bit more to show some qualities now. I don't know him (Jones) at all but I am looking forward to meeting him and to discuss our lads.

"I'd hope to learn how he sees things going forward as I don't know too much about his coaching style. I would like to think that some England coaches had been considered, I certainly wasn't asked, but it is now for the Premiership sides to produce the players."

Exeter looked to have the game sewn up by half-time when they led 21-7, but it was not until just before the hour mark that they secured the much-needed bonus point having lost 25-13 away to Ospreys in the opening round.

Wing Olly Woodburn, named as man of the match, crossed the whitewash twice with Moray Low and outside centre Ian Whitten also dotting down the ball, with fly-half Henry Slade adding 14 points with the boot.

"Considering the number of changes that we had made, to put together as good a performance as we did is credit to all the players bearing in mind the short training week after the disappointment at Ospreys," added Baxter.

"What ultimately won the game for us was the speed and tempo but there were times in the second half when that dropped away a bit and we went a little soft defensively. But overall the boys stuck pretty much to plan.

"I was particularly impressed by the first-half tackle quality because we were up against some big guys. We chopped them to ground and made them have to keep getting off the floor which is important when you play big French teams.

"In the opening quarter we isolated their big guys and that led to a lot of breaks and opportunities for us. Olly Woodburn scored two great tries, put in a good shift around the field and he was there for the try-saving tackle."

Bordeaux-Begles, having their first taste of English opposition in Europe, replied in the first half with a Nans Ducuing try, converted by Lionel Beauxis, with Julien Rey and Yann Lesgourgues touching down after the break and Romain Lonca adding a conversion.

Visiting head coach Raphael Ibanez said a the lack of experience cost his side at times.

He added: "It was a tough lesson for the team, we were really struggling in the opening 20 minutes with the pace of the game.

"The intensity from Exeter put us under pressure early in the game but especially in the second half I was really pleased with the players' character and we scored some decent tries. So I'm pretty convinced that there is a lot that we can take from the game.

"The most pleasing point was that the players didn't give up and they tried to play some good rugby - even if sometimes it didn't lead to a successful conclusion. At least we tried to pass the ball to each other - which is what I wanted to see."


From Belfast Telegraph