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'Looking at their body language, I questioned whether they were shot' - Rob Baxter

By PA
Dafydd Jenkins of Exeter Chiefs celebrates winning a scrum penalty during the Investec Champions Cup Pool 3 Round 2 match between Exeter Chiefs and Munster at Sandy Park in Exeter, England. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter feels his side showed “massive character” in overturning a nine-point deficit to defeat Munster 32-24 and post a second narrow Champions Cup success in as many weeks.

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The hosts were comfortably second best after 65 minutes, trailing 24-13, with the visitors having outscored them by four tries to one at Sandy Park.

However, two tries in two minutes turned the game on its head with Henry Slade’s last-gasp interception try robbing Munster of a losing bonus point, which puts in jeopardy their hopes of qualifying for the next round of the competition.

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Dan Frost, Jack Dunne and Ross Vintcent and Slade scored Exeter’s tries, with Slade converting three and adding two penalties.

Tom Ahern, Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch and Shane Daly scored Munster’s tries, with Jack Crowley kicking two conversions.

Baxter said: “When they scored just after half-time, I looked at our players behind the posts and looking at their body language, I questioned whether they were shot, but they went on to show massive character.

Rob Baxter
Press Association
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“We had to stay in the fight and take our opportunities as Munster have great tradition and were here to win.

“They adopted a great attacking policy and it nearly succeeded in beating us.

“We defended the rucks too compactly as we had four men within inches of it defending nothing and our backs didn’t defend with sufficient width.

“We took too long to work that out but we succeeded in doing that by the second half when we also elected to kick more.

“We took three points to stay in contention and then took our chances to win the game.”

Slade kicked the match-winning conversion last weekend to give Exeter a 19-18 win at Toulon, and once again Slade was the hero with a match tally of 17 points.

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22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
2.8
9
Entries
Avg. Points Scored
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“He’s just loving it and he’s training like a young man and playing like he was when he was first called up by England,” Baxter said of the 30-year-old.

It was a different story in the Munster camp, who were on the wrong end of a number of refereeing calls.

Harvey Skinner was perhaps fortunate to escape a yellow card for a high challenge on Crowley while it took endless TMO replays before Slade’s try was awarded.

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M
Mzilikazi 8 hours ago
Swashbuckling Hurricanes and Harlequins show scrum still matters

I always enjoy a good scrum based article. Thanks, Nick. The Hurricanes are looking more and more the team to beat down here in Australasia. They are a very well balanced team. And though there are far fewer scrums in the game these days, destructive power in that area is a serious weapon, especially an attacking scrum within in the red zone. Aumua looked very good as a young first year player, but then seemed to fade. He sure is back now right in the picture for the AB’s. And I would judge that Taukei’aho is in a bit of a slump currently. Watching him at Suncorp a few weeks ago, I thought he was not as dominant in the game as I would have expected. I am going to raise an issue in that scrum at around the 13 min mark. I see a high level of danger there for the TH lifted off the ground. He is trapped between the opposition LH and his own powerful SR. His neck is being put under potentially dangerous pressure. The LH has, in law , no right to use his superior scrummaging skill….getting his head right in on the breastbone of the TH…..to force him up and off the ground. Had the TH popped out of the scrum, head up and free, there is no danger, that is a clear penalty to the dominant scrum. The law is quite clear on this issue: Law 37 Dangerous play and restricted practices in a scrum. C:Intentionally lifting an opponent off their feet or forcing them upwards out of the scrum. Sanction: Penalty. Few ,if any, referees seem to be aware of this law, and/or the dangers of the situation. Matthew Carly, refereeing Clermont v Munster in 2021, penalised the Munster scrum, when LH Wycherly was lifted very high, and in my view very dangerously, by TH Slimani. Lifting was coached in the late ‘60’s/70’s. Both Lions props, Ray McLouglin, and “Mighty Mouse” McLauchlan, were expert and highly successful at this technique. I have seen a photo, which I can’t find online atm, of MM with a NZ TH(not an AB) on his head, MM standing upright as the scrum disintegrates.

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