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Baxter's new season message for Hogg after Prem final snub

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter says he can’t wait to see British & Irish Lions star Stuart Hogg back on the field at Sandy Park, despite ‘whatever anybody thought about the end of last season’.

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Hogg didn’t start the Gallagher Premiership final between Exeter and Harlequins in June, a selection decision that raised a few eyebrows given Hogg’s standing as one of Exeter’s biggest signings.

Over the summer Hogg traveled with and then starred for the Lions in an unsuccessful tour of South Africa. The Premiership final snub saw Lions defence coach Steve Tandy say: “You look at the squad Exeter have got, someone like Jack Nowell is a heck of a player and Rob Baxter sees the ins and outs of it.

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“For me, I know Stuart and I know what he is. Obviously, it is a little bit surprising [his selection on the bench] but it is not my place to comment on selection for Exeter because Rob Baxter knows his players’ ins and outs and he knows what it takes to win competitions. That [selection] is up to the Exeter boys.”

Baxter says he can’t wait to see the 29-year-old back out on the pitch and wants to put the past behind, be it the Lions or last season.

“He looks very motivated, he’s looked really, really sharp in training this week,” Baxter told the Exeter Chiefs’ website. “The biggest thing we’ve got to stop doing as a club is looking back, because whatever has been behind us is exactly that, it’s behind us.

“I think it’s going to be exactly the same challenge for the Lions guys, whether it went well or badly; it’s the same for us looking back as a club on a ridiculous 12-month period where we went from winning the double to getting straight into another final – we’ve got to stop looking back and look forward.

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“That’s very much my attitude with Stuart. We had our discussions post-Lions, they were a while ago, we don’t need to have them again.

“All that Stuart needs to know from me is we’re keen to get him on the rugby field, we’ve got a lot of faith in his ability to get over whatever little blips or whatever anybody thought about the end of last season and get on and show what a good player he is.”

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