Baxter refusing to change Chiefs' style
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter is expecting a very tough test from London Welsh when the two sides meet in a huge Aviva Premiership clash at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Welsh are desperate to pick up some points after last Sunday's 26-25 home defeat to bottom side Sale Sharks left them only three points off the foot of the table, while the Chiefs go into the contest off the back of a pretty hefty 31-11 defeat at Saracens.
Neither Exeter nor Welsh have won in their past five Premiership matches, but the Exiles will take confidence from their 25-24 success over the Chiefs at Oxford's Kassam Stadium in September.
"I have been looking at the way they are playing, and they are a very solid side and difficult to beat," said Baxter.
Free DT333 System Phone with all New NCP Panasonic Business...View details
Make Sure Your Business In Cornwall Chooses The Correct Business Telephone System At The Most Competitive Price.
Approved Panasonic Telecommunications Installer.
Terms: Terms: Please Quote This Genuine Offer When Booking An Appointment With Your Telecommunication Engineer. We Also Offer A Demonstration Of The Proposed System Please Ask For This Free Service
Contact: 01726 213808
Valid until: Monday, March 31 2014
"It is not about us being better, it is just about us doing what we do well, and being confident in it, and that's what we will have to do against Welsh."
Baxter is buoyed by the Chiefs' home record in the league this season, with only one defeat in seven matches, and that 30-19 against Northampton Saints in January. Despite Exeter being on their longest ever run in the top flight without a win, he has no intention of altering the way they play.
"We are a good side at home, we have got a very good record at Sandy Park this season, and we don't need to get too carried away with individual things that happen," he said.
"We are not suddenly going to try and completely change who we are as a team because of what happened at Saracens. It doesn't work like that.
"We do have to realise that there were moments in last Saturday's match that affected the game very dramatically.
"For example, Saracens had a scrum in their third of the pitch, they made a good touch off that, then put pressure on our line-out, we made an error and they scored a try.
"That was two pieces of intelligent play by Saracens that led to them scoring a try, and we struggled to do that last weekend, and we have struggled a little bit at times to do that throughout the season. Those are the bits we have got to add to our game.
"We are not going to try and completely revamp ourselves based on one result.
"We are Exeter, we are playing at home, we have got to show what Exeter is about, and play well."
Baxter will be waiting to see who is fit before naming his side to face Welsh, with the Chiefs picking up a lot of injuries in the past few games, often in the same areas of the team.
One of the worst-affected departments is the back five of the scrum, with seven players currently out either long term or struggling with knocks.
"Ben White had a to pull out last week with an infection in his hand; Tommy Hayes has got a bit of a sore back, so we have been trying to look after him a little bit; and James Hanks has got a minor injury and we are hoping it will settle down relatively easily," explained Baxter.
"The back five of the scrum has been hit a little bit, but it is just one of those things, it happens and you have just got to keep moving."
There are also injury problems elsewhere in the team.
"Sireli [Naqelevuki] took a bit of a bang last week and his knee has not been great for playing on rubber-crumb pitches, so there are little matters like that, but, at the end of the day, we'll put a competitive team on the pitch and we go for it," said Baxter.