Baxter hungry to tackle Tigers
December 29, 2010
Dan Hipkiss helped the Tigers come from behind to beat Exeter in September © Getty Images
Exeter No.8 Richard Baxter is relishing the prospect of taking on reigning Premiership champions Leicester in Sunday's clash at Sandy Park.
The Tigers are developing an ominous momentum for the rest of the Premiership as they head into the New Year after thrashing Sale Sharks 54-21 on Monday to consolidate their place behind leaders Northampton in the standings.
Meanwhile the Chiefs have not been in league action since the beginning of December follow European commitments and the postponement of their trip to Bath on Boxing Day. But Baxter insists the break has only made him hungrier to take on the Tigers.
"It's a game all the guys are massively looking forward to, especially after the Bath game was postponed," Baxter said. "It gave us a chance to have a little bit of a break and spend a bit of time with the family, but since then we've come back into training; we've worked hard as a group and now we're all raring to go again.
"Sunday is going to be a massive game for both sides, but it's the sort of challenge your relish as a player. If you look over the years, Leicester have been the side at the top of the English game, so to test ourselves against them will be a great occasion."
In September Premiership newboys Exeter took the Tigers to the brink of defeat only to lose 37-27 as the hosts roared back in the second half at Welford Road. Baxter missed that game through injury but still felt the disappointment of defeat.
He said: "The guys were definitely disappointed we didn't come away with something that day, especially after putting so much into the game. That said, fair play to Leicester they changed the momentum of the game in the second half and we couldn't stop it in those last 10, 15 minutes."
It was a rare disappointment though as the Chiefs made a flying start to the Premiership. And they now lie eighth in the table having secured five wins from ten games in the Premiership so far. The Chiefs have been particularly profitable at Sandy Park with London Irish the only side to have won in Devon in the league, giving Baxter plenty of confidence.
"Things have changed since we played them up at their place," Baxter said. "What we did up there should stand us in good stead this week, but we know they are a good side and that we will have to be on top of our game to get anything out of it.
"At home this year we've been strong and the support we've had has been fantastic. What we need this week, however, will be for the supporters to get behind us again and use that as like an extra factor against teams who come here."
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