Double delight for Chiefs
Double delight for ChiefsSHARE
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter hailed his side's character after they ended their European Cup campaign with a win over Cardiff Blues on Saturday.
The Chiefs were unable to qualify for either the European Cup or European Challenge Cup knockout stages going in to their final Pool Two fixture but produced a spirited display to complete a European double over the Blues this season.
"I was really pleased with our fight and endeavour to compete for everything, it was a lot better than last week. I'm a little disappointed the game finished as close as it did because we had a lot of opportunities," said Baxter.
"We were very dominant in the first half and we had a dominant set-piece for pretty much the entire game. But we didn't capitalise on that.
"That's where we have been in the last six to eight weeks, we've had lots of chances to beat some very good sides but haven't taken them. But we showed real character to come through.
"Cardiff had a lot more to play for than us, for us it was about coming away from home and playing well. Just because we couldn't do anything it was still a big game of rugby and that's why the players celebrated so much at the end.
"This is a fantastic game and that's how I want my players to approach it. When you're coming away to Cardiff Blues it's a massive game – we emphasised that to the players all week."
Exeter finished the qualifying stage as third in Pool Two having overtaken Glasgow following their defeat by Toulon and Baxter paid tribute to his players for their second European Cup campaign
"We showed some great energy and I have to hold my hands up and say it was a lot of guys who have not played much. Our scrums being going really well recently and I was very happy with how it went," added Baxter.
"I can reflect on the campaign as it's our second European Cup and we've taken more points than last year. We are taking some steps forward.
"We've beaten Cardiff home and away, taken points from Glasgow in both games and points from Toulon. Our only regret is not finishing off Toulon at home. But overall I am very pleased with how things went."