Baxter relishing Perpignan showdown

PA Sport
Rob Baxter
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Rob Baxter

Exeter boss Rob Baxter has urged his players to "go for it" when they target an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place at the expense of French heavyweights Perpignan.

The clubs meet at Sandy Park with Exeter knowing victory would guarantee a last-eight spot. And such an achievement would provide further evidence of the Chiefs' remarkable rise under Baxter which currently sees them mixing it at the business end on domestic and European fronts.

Exeter, beaten 15-12 in Perpignan two months ago, hold a one-point advantage over this weekend's opponents and Baxter said: "I think it will be pretty special - one of the biggest fixtures we've staged as a club."

He continued: "We have got a big 80 minutes to get through, but we know we can attack the game and look to get something out of it. If we win, we top the group, and that is a fantastic position to be in.

"If we can keep progressing in Europe that would be great. We are going into the last game with something to play for, so let's go for it.

"Perpignan are one of the biggest clubs in Europe. They may not be on form this season, but they could field a side with five or six current internationals and a British Lion, so there is a lot of strength there. If we win, we get a quarter-final, and that would be a fantastic achievement for the players."

Worcester arguably face a tougher French mission than Exeter, tackling Stade Francais in Paris knowing they must not only win, but also deny Stade a losing bonus point to have any chance of topping Pool One.

Newcastle, now under the coaching direction of South African Gary Gold, head to Lyon in Pool Two knowing they cannot control their destiny.

Even if the Falcons win, they will be still relying on group leaders Toulon to be the victims of a monumental upset away against Italian side Petrarca, otherwise Newcastle's minuscule quarter-final hopes disappear completely.

For Wasps, though, the situation is far more straightforward, knowing victory over Adams Park visitors Bordeaux-Begles on Sunday would take them through.

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