Champions Cup: Exeter Chiefs ‘deflated’ at Bayonne by Northampton Saints win – Rob Baxter

Bayonne score a try
Bayonne scored six tries in their 40-17 win over Exeter

Boss Rob Baxter felt Exeter Chiefs were “deflated” in their heavy Investec Champions Cup loss at Bayonne by Northampton’s win at Munster.

Bayonne went on to beat Exeter 40-17 as they got a first-half bonus point.

“I could almost feel in the hotel that there was a little bit of quiet happened,” Baxter told BBC Radio Devon.

“They were almost a bit deflated and you could almost feel that they didn’t think they had the chance then to win the pool, and I don’t think we really recovered from that at any stage.”

Bayonne were already eliminated before kick-off and Baxter felt that gave them the freedom which Exeter did not have.

“The pressure was off to a degree for them to just get out there and play,” he said.

“They thrived on that and we struggled with that, and I don’t think we particularly played well.

“It wasn’t a great game of rugby from us, but I know why it’s happened and I can deal with that – it’s certainly not something which I feel is a terminal problem for us.”

Baxter added: “I said to the lads ‘our strength is we’re an emotional team and when we’re emotionally together we’re a very good side’.

“What we’ve shown is that’s what we are, and we were emotionally a bit off and it’s hurt us.”

The loss – Exeter’s only defeat in the pool stage after three successive victories – meant Chiefs did get a home draw in the last 16 as the eighth seeds, where they will face fellow Premiership side and West Country rivals Bath.

“From a club perspective that’s probably as good a fixture as we could have,” added Baxter.

“We always draw a big crowd for Bath. Bath can travel in numbers, it’ll probably be one hell of a day there, so in a lot of ways it’s not a negative situation.

“We’ll enjoy it and we’ll make the most of the day.”

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