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'I said to the players that they probably made me a bit disappointed... I know we are better than that'

By PA
PA

Exeter boss Rob Baxter did not hide his disappointment after seeing the Chiefs suffer a 34-18 Gallagher Premiership defeat against Gloucester at Kingsholm.

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Baxter made 11 changes to the team that beat Leicester last weekend, with four players making their first Premiership starts.

The Chiefs face Heineken Champions Cup last-16 opponents Lyon next Saturday, then a possible home quarter-final with Leinster, which undoubtedly influenced selection.

But it proved a frustrating experience for Baxter as Gloucester ended his side’s three-match winning run in bonus-point fashion.

“I said to the players that they probably made me a bit disappointed with the first-half performance, and then to see us drop away in the second-half, I know we are better than that,” he said.

“We had some heroic moments, but the reality is that as much we love heroics as rugby coaches, the problem with them is they’ve come because we are doing something wrong.

“If we are having to chase back and make last-ditch tackles, then it is going wrong somewhere else, and I thought in the end we just couldn’t keep that level of last-ditch play up.

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“That is a little frustrating. Yes, I understand the scenario, yes, I made changes, but as I said to the players ‘well done, you have worked hard, but we haven’t won a game of rugby’.

“The reality is we are double champions and our standards have got to be very high if we want to maintain that place within the game.

“Any game is about how you step forward and how you move on. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being disappointed.

“My job is when it’s tough, to be even tougher, and that’s what it feels I have got to be like tonight.”

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Gloucester recorded only their fourth Premiership victory of the season, prevailing through hooker Henry Walker’s try double, a Charlie Chapman touchdown and late penalty try that secured a bonus point, while fly-half George Barton kicked 12 points.

Full-back Josh Hodge and flanker Don Armand scored tries for the Chiefs, while Harvey Skinner kicked two penalties and a conversion.

Gloucester head coach George Skivington said: “We are building nicely. There are loads of positives.

“There has been a core group of lads working extremely hard over the last couple of months, and the boys are getting good at managing scenarios in games.

“We have been close to delivering that sort of result a couple of times, and we have fallen short.

“We have addressed that and talked about it, and I thought we finished the game off in style tonight.

“We have got young Gloucester players on the field, they are getting exposed, they are getting experience. It’s great to see.”

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Jon 2 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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f
finn 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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