Rob Baxter demands Exeter improvement in the Aviva Premiership final

Last Updated May 20 2018, 15:42Rugby Union
Exeter coach Rob Baxter
Exeter coach Rob Baxter

Rob Baxter is demanding an improved performance compared to those produced on Exeter's last two Twickenham trips as the champions prepare to face Saracens in next Saturday's Aviva Premiership final.

The game is a repeat of the 2016 final, which Saracens won 28-20, while Exeter return to defend a title they clinched following an extra-time triumph against Wasps last season.

An Exeter victory would see them become only the fourth club after Saracens, Leicester and Wasps to successfully defend Premiership silverware since the competition began 20 years ago.

And the form guide has so far held, with this season's top two clubs after the regular 22-game Premiership campaign now going head to head.

"Personally, I think an Exeter versus Saracens final is a very good final," Chiefs rugby director Baxter said.

"It probably drives the merits of finishing first and second in the league - the two home semi-finalists in the final.

"For a lot of reasons, it could make a really good final.

"I wouldn't say we go there expecting to win. We go there with an expectation of we know we can play well there.

"Two years ago, we lost by eight points after not starting well, and last year we came up with a win with an improved performance.

"I would like to think what we are aiming for is an improved performance on last year.

"For me, we have got to go there with an expectation that we will play better than in the last two finals, because that is what you should do as a team."

Exeter brushed aside play-off debutants Newcastle 36-5 at Sandy Park, with fly-half prospect Joe Simmonds kicking 19 points and Nic White, Olly Woodburn and Don Armand scoring tries.

The Chiefs remain unbeaten in all competitions since mid-February, setting up a heavyweight showdown against a Saracens side through to a fourth Premiership final in the past five seasons.

Baxter added: "We went into the (Newcastle) game with some definite goals of what we wanted to achieve, and the players worked very hard to achieve them.

"The lads will have a bit of time to get themselves refreshed and ready for training on Monday, and a lot of what we have got to prepare for is the style of play we want to adapt against Saracens.

"We have done OK against them. We have beaten them twice in the Premiership this season, albeit with probably a different side to what they are putting out now.

"We always like to think we are very competitive against Saracens, and we would like to think we will be again."

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