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Disappointed Exeter Chiefs are refusing to panic

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 17, 2012

Ed Jackson’s try for London Welsh condemns Exeter Chiefs to an Aviva Premiership defeat  at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium yesterday. Picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

Ed Jackson’s try for London Welsh condemns Exeter Chiefs to an Aviva Premiership defeat at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium yesterday. Picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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Disappointed Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter insisted he and his team would not go into a state of panic despite slipping to a second successive Aviva Premiership defeat at the hands of league newcomers London Welsh.

The Exiles claimed their maiden top-flight win as replacement Seb Jewell converted a late Ed Jackson try to ensure a 25-24 victory at Oxford's Kassam Stadium.

Having suffered back-to-back losses at the hands of Leicester Tigers and Harlequins, Lyn Jones' men dug deep into their reserves to fight back from a 14-0 deficit and sting the Chiefs, whose scant reward for their efforts was a losing bonus point.

Baxter summed up the mood in the visiting camp, stating: "Yes, we're disappointed, but at the same time we are realistic. I am not going to go into a state of panic or worry too much just because we lost to London Welsh.

"I kind of know what went wrong today and the reasons for why we lost. Obviously we will have to address those issues this week, but, as I just said to the guys in the changing rooms, going away to London Welsh and losing is not the end of the world.

"We know they are a decent side and we know that teams who get promoted out of the Championship are decent sides. They've obviously had a bit of time to learn at this level and I've no doubt they will continue to improve in their time in the Premiership, both as a team and as players, and what we have to do is deal with ourselves.

"I am not going to take anything away from London Welsh, simply because I believe that in rugby you get what you deserve out of 80 minutes. London Welsh have come away with a win and we've come away with a losing bonus point. At this stage I'm probably feeling that's not too far wrong. We made mistakes and decisions out there today that we shouldn't have made.

"I think today is more about London Welsh's arrival in the Premiership than the Chiefs losing. They played well, they got themselves in the game and once they did that, they fought hard to stay there."

Earlier, Baxter had watched on as his side raced into the lead thanks to converted tries from Luke Arscott and Matt Jess. However, Welsh came storming back at the Devon club and, having got their opening points courtesy of a penalty try, they then saw winger Nick Scott race over for a second score. Gordon Ross did the rest as they lead 15-14 at the turn.

The Chiefs again started the second period brightly and claimed a third converted try through No.8 Richard Baxter, but still they could not shake their rivals who, thanks to Ross, stayed in touching distance until the final stages.

With time all but up and the Chiefs holding a slender advantage through a Gareth Steenson penalty, it was Jackson who barged his way over for the decisive score.

"We are not going to rip up everything we do at Exeter just because we lost today," added Baxter. "I remember we went to Saracens a few weeks into our first season in the Premiership and won a great game of rugby. However, I learnt a big lesson after that game because what did Saracens go and do at the end of that season? They went and won the Premiership and they didn't think it was any disgrace to lose to a side who had played well on the day.

"That is kind of how I feel today. London Welsh did a lot of good things, they played with real heart and passion, and they got in our faces. As I said, there is no disgrace in losing to the newly promoted side, but I thought we would have been able to force our game-plan on them more than we did, but these things happen in rugby."

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