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Rob Baxter lauds 'exceptional' England duo after vital win

By PA
GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Exeter Chiefs' Henry Slade in action during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm Stadium on April 28, 2024 in Gloucester, England.(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Exeter boss Rob Baxter hailed the contributions of England internationals Henry Slade and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso after Chiefs kept their play-off hopes alive by beating Gloucester.

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Centre Slade scored 13 points in a 38-17 Gallagher Premiership victory at Kingsholm, while wing Feyi-Waboso scored one of Exeter’s five tries.

“They are good players, and when we give them a platform to be able to work from they show how exceptional they are,” Baxter said.

“When you get the ball up and moving and a defence shifting, someone like Manny is going to be lethal. He is a talent isn’t he? And we have got more to come in this back-line as well.”

Slade recovered from his surprise England World Cup squad omission earlier this season by starring for Exeter and working his way back on to the Test match arena in the Guinness Six Nations.

And Baxter added of the 31-year-old: “He was annoyed and frustrated by it (World Cup omission), but I think he has moved beyond that and he is looking around and enjoying playing with these guys, which is bringing the best out of him.

“The way he talks to the lads is brilliant.

“It is not like he is some sort of father figure saying ‘you need to do this’. He is in the middle of the group saying ‘we are going to front up today and we are going to get in their faces’.

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“He is not trying to be the wise old owl, he is right in the thick of it with the lads, and that is what we want from him.”

Match Summary

0
Penalty Goals
1
3
Tries
5
1
Conversions
5
0
Drop Goals
0
109
Carries
129
11
Line Breaks
9
20
Turnovers Lost
22
8
Turnovers Won
9

Exeter still have it all to do in terms of the play-offs, lying four points adrift of the top four with only two regular season games left.

But they kept themselves in the mix ahead of remaining fixtures against Harlequins and Leicester through a bonus-point success.

Slade’s creative midfield presence caused Gloucester problems all afternoon, while he also kicked a penalty and converted all five of Exeter’s tries from flanker Jacques Vermeulen (two), full-back Dan John, Olly Woodburn and Feyi-Waboso.

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Ninth-placed Gloucester undoubtedly had an eye on next weekend’s European Challenge Cup semi-final appointment with Benetton, and they never seriously threatened Exeter despite tries by wing Jonny May, flanker Jack Clement and lock Arthur Clark, while fly-half Charlie Atkinson added one conversion.

Gloucester rugby director George Skivington said: “I don’t think we were quite there today, and we said there was a risk of what we have got next weekend creeping into our mindset.

“I haven’t lied, I have got half an eye on that. And that was evident in the first half.

“Exeter were definitely up for it today, fighting for their lives, and that was the difference. They beat us for intensity, and that is the most disappointing thing.

“I am not happy with the Premiership this season, and there is a good summer for us to go and have a look at our game.

“We want to be better in the Premiership, and I definitely won’t be happy with the league this season.

“It has been a season of highs and lows. It’s a balance. You win some silverware (Gloucester won the Premiership Cup), but you don’t do so well in the Premiership, which is disappointing.

“I am very disappointed with today. I am not going to pretend I am not.”

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Comments

1 Comment
T
Tom 84 days ago

Slade was exceptional against Gloucester. Not only was he doing the classic Slade stuff of running amazing lines and timing passes to perfection to put his wingers into space, he was kicking goals, flying off the line smashing people and crashing into rucks like a flanker… his hair even looked on point. 😍

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Jon 26 minutes ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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Wonton 7 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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