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Baxter's Exeter Chiefs will strive to meet challenge of greater expectations

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 14, 2012

Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter said his side must relish the pressure that comes with being successful

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Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter said his side must relish the pressure that comes with being successful.

The Devon club's progress means expectations continue to grow.

Last weekend's maiden Heineken Cup success over Scarlets means a full Sandy Park will expect a similar outcome against the Welsh side on home soil this tomorrow in the return fixture.

However, Baxter said: "You always want to prevent anyone getting their expectations too high. The reality is, what you really want to achieve is to be successful and be in an environment where people expect you to perform well and win.

"It is a double-edged sword. You want to be winning and for expectations to get higher but you don't want people to get carried away.

"We're probably in a nice stage at the minute. People are realistic, they know we're on a good run of form.

"We've had some tough games in the Heineken Cup and now it is up to us to show some form at home but we are approaching it from a nice position of having a nice run of form."

The Chiefs have shown themselves to be fast learners in recent seasons. Their Heineken Cup defeats to Leinster and Clermont Auvergne provided more valuable lessons – the end result being last weekend's win at Parc y Scarlets.

Baxter said: "The short time between then and facing them again tomorrow means the Chiefs most process the rights and wrongs of last weekend's game quickly.

"Everything is a little bit different. We did a three or four-game analysis for the first game and that stays in place but now we add one more game to it. The difference is that the players have it in their bodies and minds having experienced it themselves. It is not just things they have seen on video.

"That is slightly different environment to what they are used to. Normally we haven't played a team for a few months and this is about locking horns with guys they have just played against.

"The last time we did that was in the Amlin and that is a little while ago now – this time last year – so it is a little bit different and something that good players can adapt to. The Heineken Cup is a learning experience for us and this is just a slightly different one."

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