Rob Baxter: Exeter boss has ‘experienced far worse’ than heavy Investec Champions Cup loss at Toulouse


Dafydd Jenkins speaks to Exeter's players
Young players such as Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins and Josh Hodge (centre) have become Exeter mainstays this season

Rob Baxter says Exeter will learn from their heavy Investec Champions Cup quarter-final loss at Toulouse.

Exeter had been just 17-16 behind at half-time before Toulouse ran in seven tries after the interval to end the Chiefs’ European hopes for this season.

“I’ve been here and experienced far worse things than today in Europe,” Baxter said after the defeat.

“I think the first time we went to Clermont I’m not even sure we fired a shot.

“I remember coming off going ‘we were overawed’, we didn’t even do anything in the game, we just kind of stood there, we looked around the stadium and you could see we were completely overawed.

“Some of those guys went on to win a Champions Cup and win Premierships.

“We’ve got to make sure that’s how we use experiences like today.”

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and Zack Wimbush
The likes of Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (left) and try-scorer Zack Wimbush are in their first full season of first-team rugby at Exeter

Having had a host of star players like Stuart Hogg, Sam Simmonds, Jack Nowell, Dave Ewers, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Harry Williams leave in the summer there had been concerns that Exeter’s new-look squad would find the going difficult.

But they impressed in the group stage in Europe and are still in the hunt for a Premiership play-off place as the likes of Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, Ethan Roots, Dafydd Jenkins, Greg Fisilau, Josh Hodge and Ross Vintcent begin to make their names in the game.

“We were way ahead of ourselves today than we were at the start of other European journeys with other groups of players, because a lot of these guys are getting experience very quickly – that’s been the plan,” Baxter added.

“Some of them have jumped way ahead of our expectations whether they’ve become internationals this season or done things.

“But as a group we’ve still got some maturing, both physically and mentally, to do because it is a young team.

“Dafydd’s the Wales captain but he’s only just turned 21, Manny’s 20, Greg Fisilau 20, and they’re some of our guys who we expect to the carry the mantle for quite a long time.

“They’re going to need to be tough through days like today and they’re going to have to not brush it off, learn from it, and they’re going to have to learn that you can beat the best – but staying competitive is the next step.”

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