Baxter unfazed by Welsh defeat

PA Sport
Rob Baxter has urged Exeter to get back to winning ways when they host Saracens

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Rob Baxter has urged Exeter to get back to winning ways when they host Saracens

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says there is "no great panic" following his team's defeat against pre-season Aviva Premiership relegation favourites London Welsh last weekend.

The Chiefs' surprise 25-24 reversal gave Welsh their first victory in English rugby's top flight. But Exeter have little time to contemplate what might have been as they host unbeaten Saracens on Sunday and then visit Leicester next Saturday.

"It wasn't our best performance away from home at London Welsh, and sometimes you have to take it on the chin," head coach Baxter said.

"There are various reasons why things happen, and on occasions you just have to face facts and get on with it.

"For us, there is no great panic, and we haven't massively changed anything this week. Instead, we have just got down to some hard work, we've talked about the mistakes we made and we've tinkered one or two things as we look to get stuck into the Saracens game.

"We have done that every single week in the Premiership - whether we have won or lost - and this week is no different."

Injuries sideline Exeter prop Craig Mitchell and flanker Tom Johnson for Saracens' visit to Sandy Park, meaning respective call-ups for Carl Rimmer and James Phillips. Scrum-half Haydn Thomas, meanwhile, makes his first start of the season.

Flanker Kelly Brown captains a Saracens side that sees scrum-half Neil de Kock clocking up his 150th first-team appearance. Centre Duncan Taylor and hooker Jamie George make their first starts of the season, with a strong replacements' bench including England forwards Matt Stevens and Steve Borthwick.

Baxter added: "They are a very good side, and we've only beaten them once in the four times we've played them in the Premiership.

"They play a very attritional style of rugby, which can be tough to break down, and it will be a great test for us. That, however, is what the Premiership is all about. If we are not a team and a set of players who don't want to be tested like this, then we shouldn't be here."

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