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Philosophical Baxter hails efforts of Exeter Chiefs

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

Rob Baxter

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Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter praised the character of his players as they extended their unbeaten home record in the Aviva Premiership with a 30-23 victory over Wasps.

The Chiefs have now won their past five games in all competitions.

The only disappointment for Baxter was their failure to score a fourth try for the bonus point on Saturday evening.

Hooker Chris Whitehead, scrum-half Haydn Thomas and centre Phil Dollman scored the Chiefs' three tries.

Baxter said: "When you get to three tries and you've got a little bit of breathing space, you are always a little bit disappointed not to get that fourth try.

"With five minutes to go we were ten points up, there was an opportunity there because you are unlikely to lose the game and you can give it a real crack.

"Unfortunately, the way we did that probably was not quite accurate enough."

With the scores level at half-time Baxter's men showed resilience to overcome first-half tries from Elliot Daly and Tom Varndell.

The latter's touch down – assisted by fellow wing Christian Wade – caused controversy, with two potential infringements going unnoticed by referee Andrew Small in the build-up.

However, a philosophical Baxter said: "I am massively pleased with the character the players showed to come back from the kind of hammer blows – as some people might describe them – like that soft try that was from a knock-on and a forward pass.

"The ball is tied up in a ruck, it pops out the side, the two quickest blokes on the pitch shot off down one side and the referee and his touch judge are never going to get in line. So what do they do?

"It is a difficult one. I was disappointed the try was given but, I don't think either of the officials could have not given it. That is just rugby sometimes and you have to get on with it.

"Some players look at the big screen and feel they have been hard done by and fall apart for ten minutes. We went straight down the other end of the field and scored a try and that was the making of the game for us.

"We just got on with it and that is a great characteristic to have. We didn't double up penalties too much or errors and didn't get too weighed down by the scoreboard, we just got on with things. Because of all that, we deserved to win the game."

A late penalty from Tommy Bell earned Wasps a losing bonus point. But Baxter said: "We talk a lot about concentrating on ourselves. We could have shut up shop and won by ten points to deny Wasps anything, but what do you do?

"I would rather us be a team that hunts that fourth try. Ultimately, that gave them the position that they got their last penalty from. We went for a cross-field kick that probably was not quite on and that put us under quite a bit of pressure and they got their points.

"I'm not overly concerned about what Wasps got out of the game. For me, I'm just pleased we've backed up our win in the Premiership from last week at London Irish.

"And if you look around at the other games played in the Premiership, that was as good as anyone has seen this weekend. Tries have been scored here, just like at London Irish last week and I think we are a good team to come and watch."

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