Rob Baxter: Exeter Chiefs boss says European break has given his side a 'new start'

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Rob Baxter
Rob Baxter's side are currently third in the Premiership

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter says his side have finally had their chance to take in the Premiership and European double they won last year.

Exeter had just nine days' preparation for the start of this season after winning back-to-back finals in October.

Baxter said his side were suffering an "emotional wobble" after losing to Bristol earlier his month.

"It does feel like it's given us a new start point," Baxter told BBC Sport after a two-week break from games.

Having won their first four games with bonus points, Exeter suffered back-to-back Premiership losses to Wasps and Bristol, the latter of who have opened up a four-point gap at the top of the table.

All clubs have had the past two weekends free after European matches were suspended.

"Our biggest challenge this season is not going from a couple of finals, a short pre-season, and into the start of the season again," added Baxter.

"I actually think our biggest challenge is mentally resetting and admitting things change when you win a European cup and Premiership in the space of a week.

"Things do change and you've got to address them and understand them and reset and refocus on what the future needs to look like.

"I think this last couple of weeks has certainly allowed us to talk about that a little bit freer without the pressure of a game at the weekend."

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the first time Exeter's players got together after winning the Premiership final was the week before their season-opening win at Harlequins in November.

But Baxter says this weekend's trip to Worcester represents a fresh start for his side: "We know there are still challenges ahead, but I'd like to think this might almost be our first game of the season.

"I'm not sure whether the games up until now have been follow on games from the end of last season, I'd like to think this is where we start fighting for our Premiership title again."

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