Connect with us

Rugby News

Rob Baxter cautious of threat posed by Newcastle Falcons

Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter is fully aware his side need to be on top form to beat Newcastle Falcons this weekend, despite their opponents position in the table.

Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter is fully aware his side need to be on top form to beat Newcastle Falcons this weekend, despite their opponents position in the table.

The Falcons are rooted to the foot of the table, and are winless this Premiership campaign; however the last time the sides met at Kingston Park, the Chiefs needed a lucky escape to come away with the win.

Since that meeting, it’s been all change at Newcastle too. A win against Perpignan in the European Challenge Cup, alongside the arrival of experienced Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has changed the noise surrounding the club, and during the break they also recorded a friendly win over Sale Sharks.

These all leave Rob Baxter knowing his side need to be at their very best to beat Newcastle, and he highlighted the challenge in front of his team.

“Steve Diamond’s gone in there; we’ve watched a couple of games since he’s been in and I think they look a handful. They’ll obviously be getting more settled with the time and the training and the environment they’re in,” he said.

He added: “I think they’ll be a challenge. There’s never a game in the Premiership that’s not a real challenge.”

Rob Baxter on the Chiefs focusing on themselves

Copyright: xSimonxKingx PSI-18480-0145 Credit: IMAGO

Whilst he is aware of the prospect that lies in wait, Baxter detailed his desire for his team to focus fully on themselves: “When we’ve been at our best this year, we’ve focused on ourselves, that’s regardless of what the opportunity has been. We’ve talked about how we want to play and what we want to bring and what we want to do.”

“It’s tended to be why we’ve been pretty successful at Sandy Park for quite a while. We’ve had a huge focus on ourselves and trying to make the opposition adjust to us rather than we adjust to the opposition. I think that’s the challenge for us, to keep working with the lads to understand that’s probably the best way of their success this year is focus on themselves and making the opposition adjust to us.”

Exeter have made Sandy Park a fortress in recent years. Until the loss to Northampton Saints they had gone 23 games unbeaten at home, but they will now look to build a new run of wins starting this Saturday against Newcastle.

Rob Baxter gives injury update on Feyi-Waboso and Gray

The Chiefs restart their Premiership campaign this weekend, however they will be without emerging star Manny Feyi-Waboso.

The winger burst onto the scene this season, and quickly captured the attention of Steve Borthwick. He won three caps for England during the Six Nations, and notably started in the heroic 23-22 win over Ireland.

He might have captured the spotlight following an impressive full debut, however the current medical student picked up a head knock in the win and was unavailable for the game against France.

Commenting on Feyi-Waboso’s injury, Baxter said: “He’s ticking all the boxes on his return to play. He’s moving through the end stages of the physical activity he does with no symptoms. If he keeps ticking those boxes, he’ll be available.”

Another player the Chiefs will be without is Jonny Gray. The towering Scottish international has been absent since the Champions Cup semi-final defeat to La Rochelle, and despite hope of a return in the near future, it seems it could still be sometime before Gray is back on the pitch.

When asked if he could provide an update on when his imposing second-rower will return to action, Baxter said: “Not here and now. That’s still an ongoing process, we’ll probably get an update in the next week or two on exactly where we think things are with him.”