Baxter targets European glory with Chiefs

Rob Baxter wiped away the tears of Exeter’s extra time Premiership final victory and challenged his Chiefs to turn one title into a dynasty.

Just seven years after winning promotion to the top-flight for the first time, Exeter edged out Wasps 23-20 at Twickenham to secure their maiden Premiership crown.

Fly-half Gareth Steenson — one of three survivors from Exeter’s 2010 promotion — admitted saying a prayer to his late father before nervelessly booting the winning penalty with 90 seconds to play.

Rugby director Baxter admitted Exeter’s title success was founded on his players’ angry reaction to losing four of the campaign’s first five games — before immediately accepting the Chiefs must now attempt to conquer Europe.

“We’ve let ourselves down in Europe in the last couple of years, and we have to address that,” said Baxter, after Exeter chairman Tony Rowe said the Chiefs’ next stop is fighting for a Champions Cup title.

“Europe should be a marker for us, and I don’t mind the chairman saying that.

“I’m not going to shy away from saying we’re the best team in the Premiership. Everyone’s got massive respect for Saracens but if you take the league alone, ourselves and Wasps topped the competition.

“But as great as today is it can’t be the defining thing about Exeter.

“If it’s a downward spiral from here I’ll be massively disappointed and I’ll have failed.”

Dai Young insisted Wasps quickly rejected the notion of moving to uncontested scrums after injuries to props Phil Swainston and Marty Moore.

Simon McIntyre shifted to tighthead prop with Matt Mullan returning — with Young insisting Wasps were disinterested in gamesmanship, even despite the magnitude of the match.

“We did consider that but that’s bending the rules the wrong way to be honest with you,” said Young of the potential for uncontested scrums.

“This defeat shows we’re still a work in progress.

“It hurts and there’s not much to say to make it feel better.

“But fair play to Exeter, congratulations to a great club and a great team.”

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