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Aviva Premiership: Rob Baxter hails Exeter as Chiefs keep Heineken hopes alive

Last Updated: 13/04/13 7:04pm

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Rob Baxter: Delighted with his Chiefs

Rob Baxter: Delighted with his Chiefs

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Boss Rob Baxter was delighted with his Exeter team for keeping their Heineken Cup qualification hopes alive with a 27-6 win over London Irish.

Second half tries from wing Matt Jess and replacement flanker Dave Ewers helped lift the Chiefs into sixth place in the Aviva Premiership table with Gareth Steenson also booting five penalties.

Baxter says dealing with the horrible conditions was key to the victory, heavy rain in the west country turning the Sandy Park pitch into a bog.

He said: "In those conditions at this time of year that kind of scoreline shows a relatively convincing win but having said that, it was tough for a long time.

"London Irish came here with really good line speed, very effective in the tackle area and that certainly stood in front of us for long periods.

"It is nice at this stage of the season not to be turning-up at training knowing your season is dead. For us it is very much alive with two fantastic games to go. It is a bit like we've been through a semi-final with a final to play tomorrow."
Rob Baxter

"As the pitch began to cut up it got a bit harder to play and our power game, which was really pleasing, started to show. We looked strong in the scrum, our driving game came together at the lineout which forced a good moment of pressure."

Energised

"If you look at our form at present it is four wins out of five and the one loss was by three points against Leicester. We feel that we are playing pretty well, the boys feel fit and energised so are enjoying things.

"It is nice at this stage of the season not to be turning-up at training knowing your season is dead. For us it is very much alive with two fantastic games to go. It is a bit like we've been through a semi-final with a final to play tomorrow."

Brian Smith's London Irish have won just once away from home in the league this season and the director of rugby admits he is big fan of Exeter.

"It is a good kick in the pants and we'll suck it up and get rid of our frustration next weekend in our last home game.

"I have a lot of admiration for Exeter; they have a very fit squad; a lot of dog in their pack and across the board. They play for each other and a lot of character. They haven't run around signing rock stars as they all play for each other."

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