Opposition view: Exeter boss Baxter rues lack of game management after loss to Saints

Rob Baxter was left to rue his side's lack of game management late on after Saints snatched a 26-24 win at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Rob BaxterRob Baxter
Rob Baxter

Exeter Chiefs had looked set to bounce back from the previous weekend's defeat at Leicester Tigers when they made their way to a 24-17 lead.

But Saints kept fighting, and they eventually grabbed the victory, their second in as many matches this season, thanks to George Furbank's nerveless late penalty.

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And Exeter boss Baxter said: "The reasons for winning and losing never change despite what happened in the last few minutes.

“We didn't manage every area of the game as well as we should have done and we didn't perform as well as we should in every area.

"That said, it was certainly better than last week but we just saw multiple small mistakes all add up to hurt us at the end.

"A couple of mistakes at the scrum, a couple of mistakes at the line out a couple of missed tackles - they kill your momentum and give the opposition energy.

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"We managed to make four or five pretty poor mistakes in a row to concede the last penalty in the game and then the result is gone.

"The last five minutes of the game is a bit like how the start of our season has been.”

While Saints were without the likes of Courtney Lawes and Dan Biggar, Exeter were missing men such as Sam Simmonds, Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg.

And Baxter said: “If I was another coach I would be looking at us as very vulnerable, that is what the results and performances are saying.

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“At the end of the day we are going to go to Sale (next weekend) without a hope of winning aren’t we?

“That might be a nice position to be in.

“It is not just that we are missing the Lions - we have got Dave Ewers out, Jacques Vermeulen out, we have got that next line underneath those British and Irish Lions internationals who are not there either.

“That combination is just limiting our options and limiting our impact off the bench.

“That said we have got some good players out there who have played Premiership rugby for us and they are probably a bit distraught to hear me say this but as a group they are not delivering what we would normally expect from that back five of the scrum.”