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Rob Baxter disappointed by draw with Bath

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 31, 2012

Exeter Chiefs wing Gonzalo Camacho is tackled by Bath full back Ollie Devoto at Sandy Park on Saturday picture: Mat Mingo/Pinnacle

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Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter was disappointed to end 2012 with a 12-12 Aviva Premiership draw at home to Bath on Saturday.

The Chiefs took a seven-point lead into the final ten minutes at Sandy Park, after four Gareth Steenson penalties.

However, a late penalty try for Bath denied the Devon club their first top-flight win over their Westcountry rivals.

Baxter said: "Whenever a team peg you back that late in the game, especially when you've got control of things, it feels tough.

"The reality is we didn't play well enough in the first half. I don't think our forwards were right on the money, but that changed pretty dramatically in the second half.

"Ultimately, that gave us the control to really pull away, but we doubled up a couple of errors and penalties.

"All of a sudden we are defending in the corner and the penalty try happens, and the win was gone."

The Chiefs have yet to beat Bath since promotion to the Premiership in 2010. However, Baxter was pleased with certain elements of his side's performance.

He said: "I think we are a team who try to look at the positives. That is still the best result we've had against Bath and it is the most control we've had against them.

"Those are positives for us going forward and, if there's a direction in which both teams are moving, we are getting a lot of things right.

"We have conceded a couple of soft tries. Bath will say they have taken them well, but the reality is we doubled up penalties against us from inside their 22 for the first try and doubled up errors for their second try.

"It is very difficult when you suddenly draw a game, it is very easy to look at one individual moment, but the reality is it is never really like that. It is about swings in momentum and how you deal with it, and we'll look at it.

"It feels like points dropped for us and we have a dressing room full of disappointed guys, but it is our best result against Bath and that has to be a measure of positivity."

Chiefs begin 2013 by hosting Northampton Saints at Sandy Park this weekend. Baxter is keen to protect his side's unbeaten record at home in the league this season.

He also stressed the importance of responding to both their away defeat to Gloucester and last weekend's draw with Bath.

He said: "We are still unbeaten in the league at home and collecting points. We are in the top half of the league, as we want to be.

"We have to pull our socks up and play well next week. We have had a couple of fixtures where, if we don't get things right and don't mentally understand how the games have gone, we could get a little bit dented.

"Despite the two-point loss away at Gloucester, with them coming back late and now a draw here, we still have to mentally say: 'We are doing a lot of things right'.

"We are a team that is still getting better and will score more tries with the territory and possession we have, as we improve further.

"Those are still massively positive things for me. Anyone who watched that game against Bath will say Exeter should have scored some more points – that's a positive. It is not like we are hanging on by our fingernails."

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