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“It’ll be an interesting game on Saturday”-Exeter Chiefs’ Rob Baxter looks ahead to clash with Bath Rugby

Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter believes his team will need to be prepared for a response from Bath this weekend, a week after the knocked them out of the Champions Cup. 

Last weekend’s quarter-final with Toulouse sandwiched a double header against West Country rivals Bath, but Baxter knows his team will need to be on their A-game this week despite coming away with a 21-15 win last time out.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Baxter said: “You have funny feelings about this stuff; normally double-headed type things, the tradition is it tends to be hard to win both, doesn’t it?”

He added: “The emotions of winning one and then trying to win a second one can be tough. Whereas the team that’s lost, they have that extra bit of something. At the same time, we’re good at home, we’ve won a lot of games here at home and we’ve played very well here. We should have some confidence in how we’re playing as a team. It’s going to be another very interesting game.”

A bonus-point victory for the Exeter Chiefs would see them go above second-placed Bath, however a loss this weekend could prove fatal in their quest for the top four.

Rob Baxter on key takeaways from previous Bath fixture

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Despite coming away with the victory last time out, Exeter will know Bath will be a threat this weekend.

In the previous meeting, Bath won a staggering 20 turnovers. This is a cause for concern for Baxter, who detailed his team need to improve at the breakdown this weekend.

“There are a few things we’ve looked at in our review of the Bath game that we need to better around the breakdown,” he said. “We under-resourced a couple of rucks, and particularly in the latter stage of the game, we were ineffective and slow on a couple of clear-outs that without a doubt we should have been better on. We’ve looked at a few things and I think that’s an area we’re well prepared for.”

Baxter’s side also failed to take several opportunities against Bath. Exeter dominated much of the first half, but were 12-7 behind at the break. This could be alarming, however, Baxter feels ‘there’s only so much’ his team can change.

“There’s only so much you can try and change because you can damage your DNA. I think we looked at some of the opportunities we created against Bath, we certainly didn’t take some. We did force Bath to defend very hard against it, and credit to them, they defended very well.”

He added: “We just weren’t quick enough for what we wanted to do. Bath worked very hard on their organisation and fair play to them they held us out.”