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Chiefs' run concerns Baxter after Sale loss

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

Rugby

Exeter Chiefs' run concerns Rob Baxter after Sale Sharks loss

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EXETER Chiefs boss Rob Baxter admits he is concerned about his side's form after making it four league matches without a win.

Last Friday's 21-16 loss at Sale followed defeats against Gloucester and Northampton and a draw with Bath.

With the Sharks propping up the top tier, it is easy to see why the head coach was not happy with his side's display in Salford.

However, rather than calling the players in for training over the weekend as a result, Baxter insists they will continue to search for the small improvements that will make them a better team some time in the future.

"It's a concern because we want to be doing well," he said of his side's run in the Aviva Premiership.

"We talk about being ambitious, trying to get what we can out of the league and becoming a better side and because of that it's frustrating.

"In the bigger picture of how long we've been in the Premiership and with the Heineken Cup this year we're going OK. It's not what you would describe as a poor season by any means.

"We like shooting high and we enjoy proving people wrong. I'm determined to show people that us being in the Heineken Cup this year is not something that means we struggle in the Premiership – that's what I'm desperate for the team to show and that's why it's frustrating.

"What you've got to do is avoid getting on rollercoasters. I could easily have lost my temper after the game on Friday and had everybody in for a weekend's training but we don't do that, we don't get carried away with one result. We need to see the bigger picture and understand what it takes to slowly improve."

Exeter had beaten Sale in their previous five league meetings but Sale claimed their first win after overturning a 13-5 half-time deficit.

The Chiefs should have been further clear after crossing the line three times but only had Watisoni Votu's try on his league debut to show for it.

Gareth Steenson, on his 100th league game for Exeter struck his 150th conversion in league rugby and slotted two penalties before the break and one after.

Flanker Dan Braid crossed for a try for the hosts in the first half, with Mark Cueto dotting down in the second half – with Haydn Thomas coming on for his 150th competitive outing for Exeter – to go with kicks from Rob Miller, Danny Cipriani and Nick Macleod to complete the win

Baxter added: "I'm very disappointed. When you have as much of the game in the first half as we did we've got to be a little frustrated.

"I'm frustrated and disappointed with some of the penalties we gave away in the second half and how we managed to lose the referee as we did."

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