Rob Baxter has given his take on why defending Heineken Champions Cup champions Exeter are repeatedly successful in turning possession into scores five metres out from the opposition try line. The Chiefs’ twin Gallagher Premiership and European title triumphs last October had their genesis in how clinical they were from close range.
They have continued to largely be unstoppable with their five-metre attack this season, but Baxter believes there is no huge secret as to why they are so good at this aspect of play. Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final at home to Leinster, the Exeter boss said: “There have been a few games this season where we haven’t been able to get over the line.
“I particularly remember Northampton here a few weeks ago when we lost by a point and we had about 25 goes at it and got over just once. A lot of other clubs are adapting to it now. We go to a tap-and-go to start that five-metre process and a lot of teams across Europe are doing it now, even internationally. It is something that more teams are adapting to and more teams are looking at because of the high percentage success rate of it.
“For us, it’s probably a combination of things: we have been doing it a bit longer and because we have been doing it a bit longer we have seen the things we have got wrong more than other teams have which then means you can analyse it and you can work out what goes wrong.
“If you have done it a bit longer and you have done it a bit more in games you can also analyse the things that are successful and then you can keep adding to your plan, the options you have around your five-metre attack game and what everyone’s roll in it is having practiced it numerous times.
Being told he wouldn't make it as a scrumhalf was one of a number of incidents that motivated @ExeterChiefs Jack Maunder's career, but they've opened up a world beyond rugby and have resulted in a best selling book
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 4, 2021
“There is game intelligence around how to do it, where space might be, where you might challenge the opposition. We have probably had more practice, more reviews, more talks about it and more opportunities to analyse it and the opposition than anybody else so it is probably just that, a time and an understanding issue as much as anything else that allows us to be successful at it.
“Other teams have different ways of attacking and are slightly better at doing that because it is more in them, there is more an understanding and a belief… belief is a huge thing in sport. If you believe you are going to get over the try line, that makes a big difference as well and all of those combinations have added up over the season.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 7, 2021
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